Paris, France – Michelin has partnered with renewable chemicals and fuels company Amyris on rubber components made from renewable materials.
The two companies will collaborate in the development and commercialization of Amyris’ No Compromise renewable isoprene, the chemical building block in tires and other products that use natural and synthetic rubbers.
Under the agreement, Amyris and Michelin will partner to contribute funding and technical resources to develop the technology to produce isoprene from renewable feedstocks. Amyris expects to begin commercializing the isoprene in 2015 for use in tires and other specialty chemical applications such as adhesives, coatings and sealants.
Michelin is committed to off-take volumes on a ten-year basis, and Amyris retains the right to market the renewable isoprene to other customers.
The technology is currently used to produce a 15-carbon molecule called farnesene on a commercial scale, but it can also convert plant-based sugars into isoprene, a five-carbon molecule that is the main ingredient in the production of synthetic rubber. Isoprene has traditionally been produced as a byproduct of the thermal cracking of naphtha to produce ethylene or via refinery stream synthesis, but new processes in the petrochemical industry will require new sources of isoprene.