Continental tires showcased its groundbreaking Conti GreenConcept tire design at this year’s IAA MOBILITY, the largest mobility show in the world, held in Munich. Continental’s conceptual research, which uses both existing and future technical approaches to the creation of sustainable tires for passenger vehicles, is just another illustration of the company’s wide-ranging sustainability efforts.

Methodical approach

Continental’s integrative and sustainable approach has one goal: to reduce resource consumption throughout the tire value chain. As a result, the research included everything from raw material sourcing and procurement through different phases of manufacturing and even methods to prolong the tire’s service life.

Continental’s development engineers and materials specialists stepped up to the plate and devised innovative solutions to each of these three problems. The outcome is a tire made up of a high proportion of traceable, renewable, and recycled components, as well as an innovative, lightweight design that conserves precious resources and a tire with a long service life due to a renewable tread.

Continental Tires: sustainable tire technology for the future

Over half of the materials used in the Continental GreenConcept are eco-friendly

More than half of the raw materials used in the production of Conti GreenConcept are either renewable or recycled. Continental Tires aims to completely convert to sustainable raw materials for all of its tire manufacturing facilities by the year 2050.

All resources that come from closed-loop cycles, have no negative impacts on people or the environment, and are ethically sourced as well as climate-neutral throughout their whole supply chains are defined as “sustainable” by the premium tire maker.

Conti GreenConcept is likewise made up of 35% renewables. Natural rubber from dandelions, silicate from rice husk ash, and vegetable oils and resins are among the bio-materials utilized, all of which result in a substantial decrease in crude oil-based components.

Continental’s worldwide tire-making facilities currently utilize a variety of different resources, such as recycled rubber and vegetable oils, in addition to natural rubber. Continental has always prioritized not just the use of eco-friendly materials in its tires, but also the advancement of sustainable material farming and processing.

Continental Tires, for example, is undertaking an extensive study on the usage of Russian Dandelion with partners, at its facility in Anklam, Germany. The aim is to be able to produce natural rubber in close proximity to the company’s tire factories, reducing carbon emissions from long-distance transportation while also conserving precious resources.

Continental Tires: sustainable tire technology for the future

Reclaimed steel and recycled plastic bottles complete the sustainable materials used by Continental Tires

Conti GreenConcept is, additionally, made up of 17% recycled components, including reclaimed steel and carbon black, as well as polyester from recycled plastic bottles for the tire’s casing, which is an industry premiere. Continental plans to gradually roll out its ContiRe.Tex technology beginning in 2022, opening the door for the production of tires made from polyester yarn derived from recycled PET bottles.

The recycling method eliminates the need for conventional intermediate chemical processing, and the resultant polyester yarn is then operationally capable of bearing the enormous mechanical pressures that tires are exposed to. Used PET bottles are given a new lease of life as polyester high-performance material as part of the so-called upcycling process.

Each passenger vehicle tire is made up of about 400 grams of polyester yarn. Over 60 recycled PET bottles may be utilized in the production of a set of four tires. Continental has taken another important step toward circular production for all of its tire products by using recycled polyester.

The unique combination of materials made possible by COKOON – a technology developed by Continental Tires in collaboration with Kordsa for the environmentally friendly bonding of textile reinforcements with rubber compounds – is another element of the Conti GreenConcept sustainability equation.

Since 2019, the two partners have been making this technology accessible to all tire industry participants for free, in the spirit of open-source cooperation.

40% less weight adds to reducing the “carbon footprint”

Conti GreenConcept sets the standard in terms of revolutionary lightweight engineering, in addition to its high proportion of renewable and recyclable materials. The tire is just 7.5 kilos in weight, which is up to 40% less than traditional tires. An improved tread pattern, a unique sidewall, and a new casing design with a weight-optimized core enabled this weight loss.

Overall, the design decisions taken result in substantially reduced resource use and more environmentally friendly driving.

Conti GreenConcept is well suited for use in next-generation smart cars equipped with sensors and resource-saving drives, thanks to its lightweight design. Sensors in such cars provide drivers with the information they need for anticipatory driving by predictively monitoring their surroundings, allowing for the adoption of more lightweight and resource-friendly tires.

Continental Tires: sustainable tire technology for the future

All-new tread strip that enables more renewals

The tread compound for the Conti GreenConcept is made entirely of Taraxagum natural rubber. The tire design has the unique capacity of being retreaded many times with little time and material expenditure. The transition from tread to casing is shown by the green tread baseline.

Casings that are not damaged may be reused many times. The precious raw materials that are built into it may be reused in this manner. If a tread is replaced three times, for example, the quantity of material required for the casing in terms of total mileage is cut in half.

Furthermore, by continuously measuring temperature, pressure, and tread depth, a new-generation Continental sensor within the tire enables predictive driving. This provides additional information to drivers, allowing them to make well-informed decisions and encouraging environmentally responsible driving.

Continental is supplying Volkswagen EV’s with sustainable tires

In addition to the GreenConcept tire on show at the Continental stand at IAA MOBILITY, the Volkswagen’s ID. LIFE is also on display, featuring a Continental idea. The environmentally friendly tire engineering innovations utilized in the Volkswagen model’s tire are set to enter serial production in the near future.

The concept tire, which is based on Continental’s standard EcoContact 6 tire, has a very low rolling resistance, allowing the ID. LIFE to have a longer range. The concept tire provides a substantial contribution to resource conservation throughout the whole value chain because of its focused use of renewable and recycled materials, which account for 37% of its total components.

Responsible raw material procurement helps to reduce environmental effects and possible human rights violations.

Continental Tires’s wide-ranging efforts to guarantee the transparent and traceable procurement of natural rubber are highlighted on the sidewalls of EcoContact 6 tires with the phrase “Responsibly Sourced Rubber.” Silicate from rice husk ash, vegetable oil, and vegetable resins are among the other sustainable raw materials utilized.

Recycled rubber and the environmentally friendly COKOON bonding method for textile reinforcing, which was recently introduced for Continental’s series manufacturing, are also included.

Continental’s ambitious aim of being the most advanced tire manufacturer in terms of ecological and social responsibility by 2030 is highlighted by the Conti GreenConcept and the concept tire provided to Volkswagen for its ID. LIFE concept vehicle. The company’s zero-emission mobility division is on pace to become carbon-neutral by 2022, as the first step in this direction.

This is a significant step toward being carbon-neutral, and it will also assist Continental’s clients in meeting their own decarbonization goals. Continental plans to manufacture all of its tire products using 100 percent sustainably generated materials by 2050 at the latest, achieving complete carbon neutrality throughout all of its supply chains.

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