A company that grows drought-tolerant crops is publicly releasing the first samples of domestically produced guayule rubber to manufacturers. Guayule is being looked at as a possible substitute for natural rubber in tires.
PanAridus, based in Casa Grande, Ariz., began breeding and cultivating guayule, a native Sonoran Desert plant, in 2009, 100 after John D. Rockefeller Jr. first invested in the crop. In addition to significantly reducing water use, the entire guayule plant can be used for rubber, resins or cellulosic feedstock for biomass, making it virtually waste free.
Bridgestone and Cooper Tire are both involved in research projects on the viability of guayule as a rubber substitute.
"While the first century of exploring domestic alternatives to Hevea rubber from Asia and petroleum-based synthetic rubber has been marked by uncertainty, we've been able to unlock the Rosetta Stone through genetics, agronomics and sustained research," said CEO Michael Fraley.
He says the company is offering up samples of guayule rubber to independently verify it meets the necessary standards to be a viable alternative for making tires and other products.
"At PanAridus, we're 'seeding rubber's future' by unlocking its profit at the farm gate, making it viable for farmers in arid climates like the Southwestern U.S. to make more money per acre growing it [guayule] than they can growing traditional water-intensive crops like cotton and alfalfa," he said.
Qualified parties can request samples through the PanAridus website at www.PanAridus.com/contact and choosing the subject topic "Guayule Sample Inquires."
Related stories:8/8/2012 - Bridgestone will Build Guayule farm in Arizona 3/12/2012 - Bridgestone Launches Project to Develop Sustainable Source of Natural Rubber3/1/2012 - Cooper Teams up with Company to Find New Polymers for Tires