PanAridus releases domestically grown guayule rubber samples to manufacturers
Rubber and tire industry executives and onlookers at the International Tire Exhibition and Conference were given a glimpse into the future as PanAridus CEO, Michael Fraley, announced the company was publicly releasing the first samples of domestically-produced guayule rubber to manufacturers.
“While the first century of exploring domestic alternatives to Hevea rubber from Asia and petroleum-based synthetic rubber has been marked by uncertainty, we’ve been able to unlock the Rosetta Stone through genetics, agronomics and sustained research,” Fraley said.
“For the first time, the industry is being offered samples of guayule rubber to independently verify it meets the necessary standards to be a viable alternative for making tires and countless other products.”
The mission of the company, based in Casa Grande, Arizona, is growing drought-tolerant crops in arid regions. It began breeding and cultivating guayule, a native Sonoran Desert plant, in 2009 – 100 years after John D. Rockefeller Jr. first invested in the crop. In addition to significantly reducing water use, the entire guayule plant can be used for rubber, resins or cellulosic feedstock for biomass, making it virtually waste free.
“At PanAridus, we’re ‘seeding rubber’s future’ by unlocking its profit at the farm gate, making it viable for farmers in arid climates like the Southwestern U.S. to make more money per acre growing guayule than they can growing traditional water-intensive crops like cotton and alfalfa.”
Fraley credited the company’s success with the quiet way it acquired the world’s largest privately owned guayule germ-plasm bank; its team of experts developing patented genetic strains in their Casa Grande facility over the last four years; and their patent pending extraction process.
“History is replete with examples of short rubber supplies due to monopolies, high rubber prices due to the cost and global demand of oil, and short bursts of intense research into rubber alternatives because of geopolitical crises. Today, all of the above apply; and with emerging markets around the globe, cheap oil peaked and cartels artificially altering supply levels to inflate their profits, the time is right to realize the dreams of Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone, Dwight Eisenhower and Henry Ford to create a natural and domestically produced source of high quality rubber,” Fraley said.