The goal of Continental’s Conti GreenConcept is to minimize resource consumption across every link in the tire’s value chain.
As such, the study addressed everything from the sourcing and procurement of raw materials on to the various stages of production and even on up to ways of extending the tire’s service life.
The result: a tire that consists of a particularly high percentage of traceable, renewable, and recycled materials, has an innovative, lightweight design that conserves valuable resources, and extended service life thanks to a renewable tread.
Continental is on track to becoming completely carbon-neutral as of 2022. By 2050 at the latest, they intend to manufacture its tire products using 100 percent sustainably produced materials to achieve full climate neutrality throughout all of its supply chains.
Over 50% sustainable raw materials used
Of all raw materials used in the making of Conti GreenConcept, more than half are either from renewable sources or recycled.
For all of its tire production plants, Continental is aiming to fully transition to sustainable raw materials by no later than the year 2050.
They define “sustainable” as: all materials that originate from closed-loop cycles, have no harmful effects on people or the environment, and are responsibly sourced as well as climate- neutral across their entire supply chains.
Conti GreenConcept also consists of 35 percent renewables. Among the bio-materials used are natural rubber from dandelions, silicate from the ash of rice husks and vegetable oils and resins, all leading to a significant reduction in materials based on crude oil.
In addition to natural rubber, Continental’s global tire-making plants are already making widespread use of various other materials such as recycled rubber or vegetable oils.
The goal is to be able to grow natural rubber in the immediate vicinity of the company’s tire plants so as to both lower carbon emissions from long-distance transport and to conserve valuable resources.
Rollout of “ContiRe.Tex” technology
Conti GreenConcept also consists of 17 percent recycled materials, namely reclaimed steel and recovered carbon black, plus – in an industry first – polyester from recycled plastic bottles for the tire’s casing.
Continental is planning the gradual rollout of its ContiRe.Tex technology as of 2022, thus paving the way for the manufacture of tires using polyester yarn from recycled PET bottles.
Another part of the Conti GreenConcept sustainability equation is the special mix of materials made possible by COKOON – a technology for the eco-friendly bonding of textile reinforcements with rubber compounds as developed by Continental in partnership with Kordsa.
Resource-saving lightweight design
The tire weighs just 7.5 kilograms, making it up to 40 percent lighter than conventional tires.
This weight reduction was made possible by an optimized tread pattern, a special sidewall and a new casing design with a weight-optimized core. All in all, the design choices made lead to significantly lower resource consumption and more sustainable driving.
Thanks to its lightweight design, Conti GreenConcept is particularly destined for use in next-gen smart vehicles equipped with sensors and resource-saving drives.
Even lower rolling resistance
In-house measurements reveal that Conti GreenConcept’s rolling resistance is to about 25 percent lower than class “A” – i.e. the best possible rating – under the EU Tire Label system.
Low rolling resistance means lowers energy consumption, thus leading to a measurable improvement in terms of environmental impact. In the case of internal combustion vehicles, this means greater mileage and lower carbon emissions; for electrical vehicles, it results in extended range.
Continental’s calculations – which have been validated by leading vehicle manufacturers – show that a 25 percent reduction in rolling resistance can lead to up to six percent greater range for electric vehicles.
Special tread strip
The natural rubber used for the Conti GreenConcept tread compound is 100 percent Taraxagum natural rubber.
As a special capability, the tire concept can be retreaded multiple times, with a minimal investment in terms of both time and materials. The green-colored tread baseline marks the transition from tread to casing.
Undamaged casings can be reused several times. In this way, the valuable raw materials that are built into it can be reused.
If a tread is renewed three times, for example, this halves the amount of material used for a casing as seen in terms of its total mileage.