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South Korean companies develop tire using chemically recycled PET

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To reduce carbon emissions, three South Korea-based companies have developed and commercialized the country’s first tire using chemically recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET).


SK Chemicals, Hyosung Advanced Materials Co. Ltd. and Hankook Tire & Technology Co. Ltd. say they have successfully developed the electric vehicle- (EV-) exclusive tire, dubbed iON, by applying circular recycled PET (rPET) fiber tire cords. Circular recycling is an exclusive chemical recycling technology of SK that breaks down scrap plastics through chemical reactions into molecular units and then uses those raw materials to produce recycled plastics.


The three companies collaborated to develop the iON tire over a period of about two years. SK has supplied its SKYPET CR recycled PET, and Hyosung Advanced Materials developed the high-strength rPET-based tire cords using SKYPET CR as a raw material. The cords were applied to Hankook Tire’s premium EV tire brand, iON. The tire, with 45 percent sustainable material content, has recently passed reliability verification by a European automotive manufacturer, securing final approval for use and being mounted as tires for new vehicles.


The partners say the tire cords are fiber reinforcement materials that help maintain the shape of the tire and withstand the load and impact applied during driving, enhancing the tire’s durability, driving performance and ride comfort. In particular, EVs require lightweight and durable tire cord materials with high strength to support the weight of their batteries.


The iON model developed by Hankook Tire incorporates 45 percent sustainable materials, including bio-based, circular and bio-circular polymers, bio-based silica along with Hyosung Advanced Materials’ tire cords, and the model is the first tire to bear the ISCC Plus certification logo, the companies say.


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