I think we all have that neighbour that maybe takes things a little too serious when it comes to dandelions in their lawns. You know, spraying every other day and glaring at you when you have one pop up, unexpected in your lawn. Well, now we have an excuse as to why we are growing dandelions in our yards. National Defence!
Now, if that is not a good reason I do not know what is.
You read it right, dandelions finally have a chance to make it in the favourite plant of the year award.
Goodyear Tire & Rubber company has announced that they are working together with the Department of Defence, Farmed Materials, BioMADE and the Air Force Research Lab to come up with a domestic source of natural rubber.
Natural rubber has been classified as a raw material that is necessary for national defence. It is used as a material in aircraft, trucks and other military vehicles. Over 2500 different plant species have been tested and analysed to come up with a possible domestic source for this important material.
With over 72,000 employees across 23 countries. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company is one of the largest tire companies in the world. Senior vice president Global Operations and CTO for Goodyear stated, “Global demand for natural rubber continues to grow, and it remains a key raw material for the tire industry”
Over 90% of today’s rubber supply comes from tropical countries that are located outside of the USA. The rubber tree can withstand 55 F, however many parts of the country find the temperatures dipping far below that number each winter. Not a natural habitat for rubber trees.
The plant that came out as a possible source is known as Taraxacum kok-saghyz. Your right, that is tongue twister, thankfully it is known as TK. Unlike the 7 years it takes a rubber tree to mature and produce latex. These dandelions can be harvested every 6 months.
The most exciting part of this source is the dandelion does not require a tropical climate to be grown. States as far north as Ohio could even be a great area to grow this dandelion.
Farmed Materials, a company that specialises in creating agricultural derived polymers has shown promising results in test plots during their pilot program. This has led to this partnership for more funding to continue testing this promising solution.
This is exciting news for the dandelion. I have secretly been a huge fan over everything the dandelion does, I have been rooting (no pun intended) for its success.
All kidding aside this is exciting news for a solution for domestic rubber production. With Covid supply chain restrictions still occurring across the world today, everything that can be done to keep supply chains local is progress. It would be nice to see full and robust supply chains in all countries to ensure that we never run into these issues again. For anyone in the automotive industry, “chip shortage” anyone..