In a world first, Michelin is presenting two tires, one for use on cars and the other on buses, containing 45% and 58% of sustainable materials respectively. Approved for road use, these tires have performance levels strictly identical to current tires.
Michelin has taken a new step toward the pre- production and marketing within two to three years of new ranges that will include high levels of sustainable materials. The Group is thus well set to meet its undertakings for global production with 100% of bio-sourced, renewable or recycled materials by 2050, with a 40% step in 2030.
Michelin owes this progress to a greater use of natural rubber, together with the inclusion in its tires of recycled carbon black, oils such as sunflower oil and bio-sourced resins, silica from rice husks and even recycled steel.
The inclusion of sustainable materials in the development of its tires is a real undertaking of the Group, in which no compromise in performance is made and care is taken not to impact the environment in each of the steps in the life cycle: design, manufacture, transport, use and recycling.
To stick to its road map, Michelin can count on its expertise in the field of high technology materials together with the contribution of the whole of its R&D department with 6,000 engineers, researchers, chemists and developers. It is noteworthy that in 2021, Michelin held 3,678 active patents for these materials alone.
Aware that the pace and nature of innovations in the field of sustainable materials require new skills, the Group has engaged in a program of targeted partnerships, allowing it to accelerate the development of breakthrough technologies, in particular in the fields of transformation and recycling. Examples of this are Pyrowave (r-styrene), Carbios (r-PET), Enviro (rCB), IFPEN/Axens with the participation of the ADEME (French agency for ecological transition) (bio-butadiene), the Empreinte* project undertaken with the ADEME or the setting up of circular economy projects BlackCycle and Whitecycle, which Michelin is running with numerous European partners and with the backing of the EU, to transform tires at end of life into very high quality raw materials that can be incorporated in new tires.
*The Empreinte project is financed by the government as part of the Program for future investments, now included in France 2030 and operated by the ADEME.