For the first time, the tire maker said, experimental tires with multiple components containing 100-percent guayule rubber from PanAridus were run in a blind test against conventional Cooper mass-production tires.
“The testers had the opportunity to experience these tires against standard tires,” a Cooper spokeswoman told Tire Business.
“The result was performance that was comparable — no difference in performance,” she added.
This is a major victory for BRDI, whose goal is to develop guayule as a domestic source of NR for the tire industry, she said.
The tires tested at Pearsall represent the third generation of prototype tires that have contained guayule rubber, according to Chuck Yurkovich, Cooper senior vice president of global research and development.
The tires in this third batch contained 100-percent guayule in their sidewalls, treads and inner liners, Mr. Yurkovich told Tire Business.
“By the time we complete the grant (in 2017), we will determine the percentage of guayule rubber that can be used in tires.”
Part of that determination, according to Mr. Yurkovich, will be whether, and how soon, guayule rubber is available in amounts that can meet commercial demand.
PanAridus, an agribusiness development firm specializing in guayule, is directing all its energies to ensure that it will grow and process commercial amounts of guayule in the fastest possible time, the company's CEO, Michael Fraley, said.