Michelin has crossed a new barrier by being the first to design a tire integrating up to 58% sustainable materials and approved for road use. A further demonstration of its technological leadership in the materials field. Discover it in pictures.
“At Michelin, we don’t just design sustainable tires on paper, we make them from real…” With this statement, Scott Clark, Executive Vice President, Automotive, Motorsport, Experiences, and Americas Regions – Member of the Group Executive Committee, illustrates Michelin’s ability to make a difference when it comes to making goals a reality. The Group has once again proved this by unveiling two new tires, one for cars and the other for buses, containing 45% and 58% sustainable materials, respectively. These two tires, in which no compromise in performance is made and care is taken not to impact the environment, herald technologies that Michelin is clearly counting on marketing by 2025.
Michelin owes this progress to greater use of natural rubber, together with the inclusion in its tires of recycled carbon black, oils such as sunflower oil and bio-sourced resins, silica from rice husks and even recycled steel. “The compositions differ depending on whether it’s a bus or a car tire. This is explained by the tire’s structure – a polyester casing for car tires and a metal casing for trucks – but also by the compounds used in the tread. In fact, the internal pressure of a bus tire – 8 bar – higher than that of a car tire – 2.5 bar – requires a highly resistant casing, consequently created in steel. It also explains a tread with very different performance requirements, requiring neither oil nor resin, but more natural rubber,” commented Cyrille Roget, Michelin Group Technical and Scientific Communications Director.
This progress in integrating sustainable materials constitutes a real challenge and one that Michelin has been able to overcome thanks to its expertise in high-tech materials and its desire to speed up innovation by engaging in a program of targeted partnerships.
Examples of this are Pyrowave (r-styrene), Carbios (r-PET), Enviro (rCB), IFPEN/Axens with the participation of the ADEME (French agency for ecological transition) (bio-butadiene), the Empreinte* project undertaken with the ADEME or the setting up of circular economy projects BlackCycle and Whitecycle, which Michelin is running with numerous European partners and with the backing of the EU, to transform tires at end of life into very high-quality raw materials that can be incorporated in new tires.
Beyond developing and integrating sustainable materials into its tires in order to preserve the planet’s resources, Michelin stands out with its global approach that aims at truly reducing a tire’s environmental impact. In order to achieve its ambitious goal of a 100% sustainable tire by 2050, Michelin is acting at every stage in its life cycle (from choosing raw materials to tire recycling solutions) without lowering performances and taking into consideration the real possibilities for large-scale production of the sustainable materials from which it will be created.