Days of Guayule
“The global demand for natural rubber is showing signs of far outstripping the supply, which has caused major users of NR around the world to search for alternatives to ensure steady price and inputs. Combine these trends with a consumer demand for greener products and a finite supply of water for agriculture, and it appears the time is finally right for large-scale commercialisation of guayule,” Mike Fraley, CEO of PanAridus, says.
“It’s the perfect adjunct to Hevea rubber because it doesn’t compete for land (as Hevea is grown in tropical regions), and as an annual crop, guayule is more flexible than Hevea for meeting short-term need increases. We see the potential for great economic opportunity in arid climates like in the Southwestern US and northern India for closing the global shortfall and making up to 30 per cent of domestic need in the US,” he told Polymers & Tyre Asia.
This clearly puts in perspective what the Casa Grande, Arizona-based company’s vision for future. The company has taken bio-genetic research in guayule to another level where the tropical plant has established its credentials as a sustainable alternative to Hevea and can be commercially used.
Fraley’s words resonate with added confidence, and that is quite understandable. It was only weeks ago that PanAridus hit the headlines again when it announced the company’s ninth USDA Plant Variety Patent and the first tyre quality, bale-sized shipment of the bio-rubber.
“By continuing to diversify our plant varieties, we’re overcome yet another obstacle in the 100-year quest to find a sustainable and domestically produced source of natural rubber. We’ve made guayule more adaptable to different soils and conditions which should give the tyre industry more confidence than ever that we’ve reached the age in which a domestically produced source of natural rubber can be sustainably grown over predictable periods of time,” Fraley said on that occasion.
PanAridus owns the most guayule plant patents in the world and was the first to offer certified guayule crop seed.
PTA NEWS BUREAU
(Full text in PTA October/November issue)