The gesture is part of the company’s efforts to make one set of their tires last a lifetime.
Additionally, using locally-source wood chips as a renewable ingredient in the products is expected to help curb the tire industry’s dependency on oil. Wood ingredients are also expected to drastically lower production costs.
Michelin’s first wood-based tire is expected to be unveiled in 2020.
“The elastomers from wood chips will replace the oil content in tires. 80% of the materials in tires are coming from oil,” says Cyrille Roget, the company’s worldwide director of scientific and innovation communication, according to Motoring.
“We have a project working with wood chips. We will use the waste from the wood industry to create elastomers that come into tires,” he added. “We believe it is a good solution for the future.”
The company is currently working with self-sustaining wood plantations in Brazil as a means of developing the process.
Another method that Michelin will be using to extend the lifespan of their tires will be using 3D printers to retread and repair tires as they’re worn down from use.
The company estimates that 3D printing tire surfaces will not come to fruition for another 10 or 15 years, but it may be much sooner depending on how the technology develops.