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Wood You Look at That: Michelin to Make Tires Out of Wood by 2020

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The automotive industry is making many positive strides toward a sustainable future. From finding alternative fuels to pursuing all-electric lineups, there are plenty of ways we can reduce our carbon footprints. Now, Michelin — one of the largest tire manufacturers in the world — is pushing to replace the oil in its tires with wood for a more eco-friendly product.

This doesn’t mean your tires will be entirely made out of wood. Rather, the materials will be sourced from wood rather than oil. According to Michelin, 80 percent of its tires’ materials come from oil with the current process. This new process would allow Michelin to replace oil contents with the elastomers in wood chips. The company plans to use the leftover waste from the wood industry rather than cutting down additional trees for the process.

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“We believe it is a good solution for the future,” said Cyrille Roget, Michelin’s worldwide director of scientific and innovation communication. “It’s not a dream,” he said. “We should have the first industry machine in 2020. And then the industry will ramp up from there … we hope in 2020 we will be able to show the first tire made of wood.”

Roget also explained that Michelin is also planning to work toward 3D printing rubber in order to make cars able to run on one set of tires for the duration of its time on the road. Instead of buying an entirely new set of tires, drivers could use 3D printers to “recharge” the tread on the tires to continue using them. However, this process is 10-15 years down the line.

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News Sources: Motoring, The Drive, Motor Authority