Flower Power! KeyGene delivers natural rubber for world’s first green bike tyre

September 13, 2017

Last month during the Eurobike exhibition in Friedrichshafen (GER) the first bike road tyre made of dandelion rubber; the Fortezza Flower Power, was showcased by Vredestein. This innovative road tyre is made of rubber extracted from the roots of dandelions, the result of a joint initiative called DRIVE4EU, co-financed by the European Union. KeyGene, partner in DRIVE4EU, has made this possible by providing roots of an enhanced rubber dandelion variety, Flexilis® Plus, to the DRIVE4EU consortium partners. This Flexilis® Plus variety is developed by KeyGene.

A lot of roots!
KeyGene’s focus in its breeding program is realizing a high rubber yield in the roots of the Kazakh dandelion by improving both the percentage of rubber in the roots dramatically as well as the root size and shape. A large volume of KeyGene’s most advanced material, the Flexilis® Plus  was grown in the field in 2016-2017. Recently these thousands of Flexilis® Plus roots were harvested and the rubber was isolated by several partners within the DRIVE4EU programme and partly used as basis for the tyres.

Anker Sørensen, VP New Business KeyGene:

“The coming year KeyGene will develop and release further improved rubber dandelion varieties making commercial production of natural rubber form Dandelions possible. The first hectares of the rubber dandelions are grown already and will form the basis for more innovative rubber products. KeyGene is proud to contribute to the development and use of more sustainable crops and products”

A unique product
The prototype road bike tyre is the first in the world produced with natural rubber extracted from the roots of the Kazakh dandelion (Taraxacum kok-saghyz TKS). As the rubber is derived from a plant known for it’s beautiful yellow flowers it has been named Flower Power.