Alternative sources of rubber have arrived

HILTON HEAD, S.C.—Alternative sources of rubber are no longer in the realm of speculation, but now are viable technologies for tire manufacturing, according to speakers at the Clemson University Global Tire Industry Conference in Hilton Head April 19-21.

Taraxacum koksaghyz, more commonly called TKS or Russian dandelions, is often spoken of as an experimental source of natural rubber, but in fact it has been cultivated for close to a century, according to Daniel Swiger, president and CEO of Kultevat Inc.

“We need a domestic source of natural rubber,” Swiger said. “TKS is a very good, highmolecularweight rubber.”

NR is so important that the world can’t afford to limit its production to one plant in one part of the world, according to Swiger. “One of these days, leaf blight is going to hit Hevea,” he said. “Some believe it, some don’t. I think it probably will hit in some point in time.” (read more)