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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Improvement and Utilization of Natural Rubber- and Castor Oil-producing Industrial Crops

Location: Bioproducts Research

Title: Securing the future of natural rubber – an American tire and bio-energy platform from guayule

Authors
item Colvin, Howard -
item Christoffersen, Leif -
item McMahan, Colleen
item Landis, Amy -

Research conducted cooperatively with:
item

Submitted to: Proceedings Assoc for Advancement of Industrial Crops (AAIC) Annual Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: September 10, 2012
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: There is a high level of interest in alternative sources of natural rubber for the tire industry due to both the price and supply volatility of Hevea brasiliensis. The guayule plant (Parthenium argentatum) has served as a major source of domestic natural rubber in the early 20th century and is being evaluated by several groups as an alternative today. The objective of this presentation is to outline technical and agronomic areas which must be addressed if guayule is to be a viable candidate to replace Hevea. A $6.9 million DOE/USDA grant was recently awarded to a consortium lead by Cooper Tire & Rubber under the Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI) to look at all aspects of guayule rubber production and the development of a concept tire using only guayule or guayule derived rubber. The study includes genome sequencing work, advanced breeding, agronomic development for guayule, isolation/stabilization of the guayule rubber, modification of the guayule rubber for tire applications, tire compound development, tire building and tire evaluation. Bagasse will be evaluated in both a cogeneration facility and a biomass-to-fuel facility. Finally, the program will include a sustainability/life cycle analysis of the production of guayule and its use in tires which will involve the economic, environmental and social effects of production on society. The program will be outlined and critical questions for the commercialization of guayule rubber will be considered.

Technical Abstract: There is a high level of interest in alternative sources of natural rubber for the tire industry due to both the price and supply volatility of Hevea brasiliensis. The guayule plant (Parthenium argentatum) has served as a major source of domestic natural rubber in the early 20th century and is being evaluated by several groups as an alternative today. The objective of this presentation is to outline technical and agronomic areas which must be addressed if guayule is to be a viable candidate to replace Hevea. A $6.9 million DOE/USDA grant was recently awarded to a consortium lead by Cooper Tire & Rubber under the Biomass Research and Development Initiative (BRDI) to look at all aspects of guayule rubber production and the development of a concept tire using only guayule or guayule derived rubber. The study includes genome sequencing work, advanced breeding, agronomic development for guayule, isolation/stabilization of the guayule rubber, modification of the guayule rubber for tire applications, tire compound development, tire building and tire evaluation. Bagasse will be evaluated in both a cogeneration facility and a biomass-to-fuel facility. Finally, the program will include a sustainability/life cycle analysis of the production of guayule and its use in tires which will involve the economic, environmental and social effects of production on society. The program will be outlined and critical questions for the commercialization of guayule rubber will be considered.

Last Modified: 11/28/2014
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