Dow, Lehigh partner on (more) sustainable tires

Sure, electric cars are green. But what about their tires? Dow and Lehigh Technologies say the answer to sustainability is in micronized rubber powder.

Sure, electric cars are green. But what about their tires?

Chemical giant Dow and green materials manufacturer Lehigh Technologies said on Tuesday that they would collaborate on more sustainable materials for tires.

The partnership combines Dow's polymer chemistry with Lehigh's sustainable, micronized rubber powders, or MRPs.

The Tucker, Ga.-based startup's proprietary manufacturing process takes tire and other post-industrial rubber material and up-cycles it into powders that are compatible with customers' existing formulations.

The idea is to integrate the sustainable powders into existing products, helping them become more sustainable (and thus meeting corporate targets) and reducing the overall cost.

More than 100 million tires on the road already contain Lehigh's micronized rubber powder; the company is shooting for the 1 billion tire milestone. (One recent partnership: Yokohama.)

Lehigh is backed by several big name venture capital firms, including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Index Ventures and NGP Energy Technology Partners.

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