Michelin unveils vision of sustainable tires — and wind-powered cargo ships

by Today's Trucking

Michelin is highlighting two sustainable innovations during the annual Movin’On Summit, unveiling the prototype for a sustainable tire and even a new generation of sails for merchant ships.

The prototype racing tire contains 46% sustainable materials and is being fitted to the GreenGT Mission H24 hydrogen-powered car for endurance racing.

The prototype includes 46% sustainable material. (Photo: Michelin)

The tire includes a higher amount of natural rubber, but also the recycled carbon black from end-of-life tires, Michelin says. Other bio-sourced or recycled materials draw from orange and lemon rinds, sunflower oil, pine resin, and recycled steel from aluminum cans.

Michelin previously committed to manufacturing all its tires with 100% sustainable materials by 2050. By 2030, the group has a target of having 40% sustainable material in its tires.

While several prototypes have introduced sustainable materials into the vision for future tires, this example also promises on-track performance.

“Mobility, and movement in the broadest sense of the term, are inherent to life and a source of progress,” says Michelin managing chairman Florent Menegaux. “The two innovative solutions we are presenting at this year’s global sustainable mobility summit offer tangible, real-world proof of our determination to make mobility increasingly sustainable.”

The Wing Sail Mobility (WISAMO) project even envisions a return of sails to merchant ships. (Photo: Michelin)

The announcement comes alongside a look at the Wing Sail Mobility (WISAMO) project that includes an automated, telescopic, inflatable wing sail system that can be fitted to merchant ships and pleasure craft.

It’s a collaboration between Michelin’s research and development team and a pair of Swiss inventors.

The inflatable wing sail captures the wind, and promises to improve a ship’s fuel efficiency of up to 20%.

“The advantage of wind propulsion is that wind energy is clean, free, universal and totally non-controversial,” said skipper and project ambassador Michel Desjoyaux.

The WISAMO system is to be fitted on a merchant ship in 2022. Production will follow the completion of a trial, Michelin adds.

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