Developing plant-based sustainable sources of rubber, biofuel

Amy Landis, a senior sustainability scientist at ASU's Global Institute of Sustainability and an engineer at ASU's School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, will lead the sustainability assessment of a $6.9 million project funded by the Biomass Research and Development Initiative of the USDA and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Landis is researching a way to use biomaterial as a source for rubber and fuel. Using the guayule plant, Landis says latex can be extracted to use in rubber instead of petroleum-based synthetics that are harmful to the environment. The guayule plant could also be a local source of biofuels, lessening U.S. dependency on foreign suppliers.

“Our contribution to the sustainability assessment includes a complete life cycle assessment of natural rubber tires,” Landis says. “We don’t want to ignore or overlook any short-term or long-term impact.”