Cooper Tire & Rubber Company and Yulex Corporation announced that they have entered into an agreement for the joint evaluation and development of guayule polymers and resins for tire applications. Under this agreement, Cooper will provide advanced polymer and materials science expertise, and utilize its design, development and testing capabilities as part of this project. Yulex provides experience with the development and production of advanced engineered biopolymers from the guayule plant. Terms of the agreement are not being disclosed.
As the global supply for natural rubber continues to decline, it is becoming increasingly vital to identify a sustainable, high quality alternative source of natural rubber. The biopolymers Yulex extracts from the guayule plant are used as a replacement for traditional tropical or petroleum-based rubber. Production of this bio-based material is ecologically responsible and carbon neutral, and the material itself is valued for its physical performance, including increased elasticity, functionality, reliability and strength.
"The agreement between Cooper Tire and Yulex will facilitate development of a domestic source of natural rubber leveraging resources and capabilities of both companies," said Chuck Yurkovich, Cooper's Vice President of Global Technology. "Our goal is to develop a reliable source of natural rubber, significantly decreasing tire industry reliance on foreign sources of raw materials. If successful, the program will create a new agricultural polymer with broad based tire industry applications, convert desert waste land into viable farm land for associated crops, and create jobs for American workers."
Yulex CEO Jeff Martin added, "We are excited to be partnering with Cooper Tire to develop a custom technology utilizing the guayule plant for their next-generation tire production. This agreement represents an outstanding commercial opportunity and a significant validation of our technology."