|6 March 2017|

USA

Eggshells and tomato peels could soon be key ingredients in the manufacture of tyres.

Rather than being thrown away, a researcher at The Ohio State University has developed a method of transforming this food waste into a viable replacement for carbon black, a petroleum-based filler that has been used to make tyres for more than a century.

It gives the new rubber a different look, the traditional black replaced by a reddish brown – it depends on the ratio of eggshell or tomato in it.

Katrina Cornish, an Ohio Research Scholar and Endowed Chair in Biomaterials at Ohio State, has a patent-pending a method for turning eggshells and tomato peels into a filler.

“The tire industry is growing very quickly, and we don’t just need more natural rubber, we need more filler, too,” she explained. “The number of tires being produced worldwide is going up all the time, so countries are using all the carbon black they can make. There’s no longer a surplus, so we can’t just buy some from Russia to make up the difference like we used to.

“At the same time,” she added, “we need to have more sustainability.”

The university has licensed the patent-pending technology to Cornish’s company, EnergyEne, for further development.