Clean energy was the theme at Michelin’s Movin’ On mobility conference, presented May 29 through June 1 in Montreal.
Keeping with the theme, Michelin announced its plan to manufacture all tires with 80 percent sustainable materials and 100 percent of all tires recycled by 2048.
Michelin’s plan will include 50 percent biosourced materials and 30 percent recycled materials within 30 years. Currently, only 26 percent of tires are made with biosourced materials and 2 percent with recycled materials. The remaining 72 percent is made up of petroleum-based materials.
According to Michelin, the recovery rate for tires worldwide is at 70 percent and the recycling rate at 50 percent. Michelin plans to reach the 80 percent sustainable materials landmark by what it calls “high technology.”
Through a partnership with Axens and IFP Energies Nouvelles, Michelin launched the Biobutterfly program in 2012. Biobutterfly’s mission is to devise a synthetic rubber from biomass such as wood, straw or beet. Michelin also acquired Lehigh, a company that makes “micronized rubber powder.” Lehigh Technologies is now a specialty chemical company that is part of the High Technology Materials Business Unit of Michelin.
Environmental gains have the potential to be huge.
According to Michelin, if the company achieves its goal, the savings will equal:
- 33 million barrels of oil saved per year
- One month’s total energy consumption of France
- 40 billion miles driven by an average sedan per year
- All cars in Europe driving 140 miles or 34 miles for all cars worldwide (1.2 billion cars estimated).
The announcement of 80 percent sustainable materials expands on Michelin’s Vision concept announced during last year’s Movin’ On conference. Michelin’s Vision concept includes an airless tire made of bio-sourced/recycled products and a biodegradable tread that can renewed with a 3D printer.