Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. and its consortium partners have received a $6.9 million grant to research guayule as an alternative natural rubber source.
The company said the four-year grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will fund research into manufacturing, testing and utilizing guayule natural rubber, according to Cooper.
The grant was given out to several different entities including other companies, universities and the Agricultural Research Service to help develop technology related to the future commercialization of guayule in the tire industry.
Yulex Corp. will manufacture the product for the members of the consortium, which is being led by Cooper.
The grant, according to Yulex CEO Jeff Martin, is an opportunity to speed up the process of large scale utilization of guayule in the marketplace.
In addition to the guayule, the grant money will be allocated to help advance agronomic practices, along with the development of genetic and genomic information.
There also will be an analysis done to help document the impact the bio-material and bio-energy industry will have on the American Southwest, according to Cooper.
The grant was a part of a larger $30 million grant given out by the USDA and the U.S. Department of Energy to fund research and develop technologies and processes pertaining to alternative renewable fuels and bio-based products.