HANOVER, Germany (Aug. 17, 2016) — Continental A.G. is planning to step up its research initiative into the use of latex derived from dandelions.
The company said it will commit $39 million through 2021 to build a dedicated research facility in Anklam, Germany.
The project will focus on industrializing the cultivation and processing of the plant-derived material, which Conti is developing under the brand name “Taraxagum.” The research facility will be called Taraxagum Lab Anklam.
The company expects to hire 20 in the project's first phase. The tire maker has been developing the material for the past five years in collaboration with the IME Fraunhofer Institute in Münster, Germany, the Julius Kühn Institute in Quedlinburg, Germany, and the plant breeding company ESKUSA in Parkstetten, Germany.
The work has included the cultivation of Russian dandelion, Taraxacum kok-saghyz, to optimize yields and the development of new processing methods to produce natural rubber from the latex sap of the plant roots.
Continental has produced winter passenger tires and engine mounts from the Taraxagum rubber, and aims to introduce commercial products in the next five to 10 years.