At Movin’On 2018, a world summit on sustainable mobility, Michelin has announced its ambitious plan to ensure that by 2048, all of its tyres will be manufactured using 80 percent sustainable materials and 100 percent of all tyres will be recycled. The summit will end on 1 June, 2018.
Today, the worldwide recovery rate for tyres is 70 percent and the recycling rate is 50 percent. Michelin tyres are currently made using 28 percent sustainable materials (26 percent bio-sourced materials like natural rubber, sunflower oil, limonene etc., and 2 percent recycled materials such as steel or recycled powdered tyres). The current world-wide recovery rate for tyres is 70 percent and the recycling rate is 50 percent. For a sustainable future, Michelin is investing in high technology recycling technologies to be able to increase this content to 80 percent sustainable materials.
The route to a sustainable material target
Michelin is conducting research programs into bio-sourced materials like ‘Biobutterfly’, which was launched in 2012 with Axens and IFP Energies Nouvelles to create synthetic elastomers from biomass such as wood, straw or beet.
Michelin has recently acquired Lehigh, a specialist in high technology micro powders (formally called as Micronised Rubber Powders (MRP)) which are derived from recycled tyres. The powder replaces oil- and rubber-based feedstocks in a wide range of industrial and consumer applications. Lehigh has one of the largest micro powder manufacturing plant in Tucker, Georgia, with an annual claimed production capacity of 54,000 tonnes. Lehigh’s state-of-the-art ‘Application & Development’ centre is also located in Tucker and serves as an innovation hub where Michelin conducts research and formulates MRPs in collaboration with its customers.
Lehigh Spain is a joint venture with Hera Holding based in Barcelona. Michelin has five product ranges so far, PolyDyne, MicroDyne, EkoDyne, Rheopave and Zenoflex. Commenting on this venture, Christophe Rahier, director of the high technology materials business line at Michelin, said, “This acquisition demonstrates Michelin's strategic determination to capitalise on its expertise in high-tech materials, in areas that extend beyond the field of tyres. In particular, by promoting the use of innovative recycled materials from tyres in a variety of non-pneumatic industrial sectors.”
In 2018, according to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, it is estimated that 1 billion of 'end of life' tyres are generated worldwide, representing around 25 million tonnes. Within this total, 70 percent of tyres are recovered and 50 per cent are recycled every year, on average. This 50 percent is the amount of recycled material, into products such as rubber used in sports surfaces, and the additional 20 percent is transformed into energy.
To make sure that by 2048, 100 percent tyres are recycled, Michelin proposes to develop partnerships and identify new ways to recycle tyres or new outlets for recycled tyres.
Gains from the ambitions
With 80 percent sustainable materials and 100 percent of tyres recycled, Michelin proposes following gains-
-33 Million barrels of oil saved per year (16.5 supertankers), or 54,000 GWh.
-One month’s total energy consumption of France.
-65 billion kilometres driven by an average sedan (8 L/100 km) per year.
-All cars in Europe driving 225 km (291 million km), or 54 km for all cars worldwide (1.2 billion cars estimated).
Also read: Michelin is 2018's most valued tyre brand