Words: Don Cheng
Published: June 26, 2018
Montreal, QC - Most petrolheads will know Michelin (and the Michelin Man) as a symbol of performance tires. While certainly a focus for the French marquee, the company at its core has also supported the development of high-technology solutions that serve the mobility industry.
Take its annual Movin’ On world summit for example. Casting a spotlight on the near and far future, the event provides an in-depth look at sustainable mobility. The three-day conference invites leaders in a variety of industries to gather, talk, and exchange ideas on what mobility will look like after the age of fossil fuels.
But it’s not all braindates and forward thinking discussions. Interspersed within the event are talks on zeitgeists of technology, hosted by industry veterans. Topics range from improving the user experience with AI to intelligence at the heart of the multimodal city. Attendees are also given the opportunity to test drive vehicles that sit at the forefront of the green movement. The Nissan Leaf, Tesla Model X, BMW i8, and even the Fisker Karma were all present to give patrons a taste of the automotive future.
At the conference, Michelin themselves announced their ambitions to manufacture tires using 80% sustainable materials by 2048. You can read more about their 3-D printed concept tire that we covered last year. The effort doesn’t stop there, as the company hopes to be at the forefront of sustainability by recycling 100% of tires.
As the company’s Senior Vice President of Sustainable Development and Mobility explains, the current worldwide recovery rate for tires is a lack-luster 70%. Michelin’s manufacturing process currently only utilizes 28% of sustainable materials. That’s a large stop gap from their self-admitted ambitious goals. To that point then, the company has invested in high tech recycling companies to increase the use of recycled goods in their manufacturing process.
One such example is Micronized Rubber Powders, a raw material that replaces oil and rubber based feedstock (materials used to supply an industrial process) by 50% in manufacturing high performance tires. Combined with the brand’s commitment to recycle 100% of tires by 2048 and if accomplished, the feat will yield some very impressive results. Michelin estimates over 33 million barrels of oil can be saved, or equivalent to one month of France’s total energy consumption.
While the rest of the industry focuses on greener and less environmentally harmful mobility solutions, one constant that will remain is the consumption of tires. It’s good to see that Michelin is looking at how their impact can be improved in a positive manner, and we can't wait to see what lies in store at next year's conference.