—Biobased Isoprene “Goodyear and Genencor seek a fermentation route to important synthetic rubber raw material” Goodyear Tire & Rubber and the enzymes company Genencor are collaborating on the R&D of a fermentation route to isoprene, an important synthetic rubber raw material. The partners say that BioIsoprene, as they call the biotech isoprene, could make the tire and rubber industry less dependent on petroleum-derived products. "Since synthetic rubber is a critical component to our products, we are very excited to be working on this renewable alternative with Genencor," says Jean-Claude Kihn, Goodyear's chief technology officer. In the U.S. most isoprene is a by-product of the ethylene industry, according to the market research firm SRI Consulting. Goodyear is one of the world's largest consumers of isoprene, using it to produce polyisoprene, considered the synthetic version of natural rubber. Genencor figures that the world market for isoprene is worth as much as $2 billion per year. Although they are only now disclosing the project, the companies say they have been working together for more than a year.
by Michael McCoy |
September 22, 2008