Continental Tire looks to dandelions for a more sustainable tire

June 6, 2016 by  
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Spring, it seems, has come and gone in the temperate Northern Hemisphere, and with it, the ubiquitous dandelion . The tenacious ” weed ” provides one of the earliest food sources for bees emerging after winter’s end and dots the early spring landscape with color. Used for food and wine , the dandelion can also be a natural source for rubber. While the rubber tree is the traditional plant used to manufacture rubber, the roots of a specific Russian variety of dandelion also contains the natural latex material used to manufacture tires. Continental Tire hopes to harness the dandelion’s latent ability to produce a more sustainable type of tire. Dandelions could prove to be advantageous over rubber trees in several key ways. The yellow perennial grows in poor soil , which allows it to be cultivated without displacing food crops from arable land. Its hardiness in cold climates allows the plant to be grown along a wide range. While the harvest and transport of rubber from trees is energy intensive, the shorter distance from dandelion field to factory to consumer would reduce the carbon footprint of the raw material. Dandelions can also be harvested within a year of planting, while rubber trees require seven years before they begin to produce latex. Related: Dutch Biotech Firm to Make Car Tires From Hybrid Dandelion The scientists leading the project were awarded the prestigious Joseph von Fraunhofer Prize for their groundbreaking work. Continental Tire aims to roll out its dandelion rubber tire over the next five to 10 years. The company is currently testing its tire design to produce a high-quality product that also reduces vehicle vibration. If Continental Tire is successful with its mass production of dandelion tires, it could have a significant positive environmental impact on the rubber industry. Via CNET Images via Coen Dijkman / Flickr and  Flickr

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Continental Tire looks to dandelions for a more sustainable tire

Toyota’s new Texas headquarters will get 25% of its power from the sun

June 6, 2016 by  
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Toyota is greening up their game in a big way. Next year the automaker is scheduled to move its North American headquarters from Southern California to Plano, Texas and when it opens, the new building will pull energy from the sun to keep the lights on. Toyota has announced that its new home will be powered by a 7.75-megawatt solar power system, which will be the largest corporate office on-site solar installation among non-utility companies in the state of Texas. Toyota expects the system to generate up to 25 percent of the energy the new headquarters will need. While 25 percent may not seem like a lot, the automaker estimates the solar system will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 7122 metric tons, or the equivalent of almost 1,000 homes electricity usage for a year. The solar array is part of Toyota’s goal to achieve USGBC Platinum LEED Certification for its new home. Related: Toyota Prius has the best gas mileage of any car Consumer Reports has ever tested “We are dedicated to making sure our new headquarters campus supports – even redefines – Toyota’s commitment to the environment,” said Kevin Butt, Regional Director, North American Environmental Division. “The Plano solar system will not only reduce our environmental footprint and educate team members about renewable energy, it moves us closer to Toyota’s 2050 global environmental challenge to eliminate carbon emissions in all operations.” The 2.1-million square foot headquarters should open by early 2017, according to the company. It will also employ up to 4,000 employees and an additional 1,000 contractors. + Toyota All images © Toyota

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Toyota’s new Texas headquarters will get 25% of its power from the sun

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