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Each year, over 1 billion tires around the world reach their End of Life. These tires are not just waste that it is polluting the environment, but a gold-mine of reusable materials. However, tires are made of several components (rubber, metal, polymers, textile fabrics, etc.) that are linked via chemical reactions occurring during the vulcanization process. These components must first be separated and sorted, before devulcanization of the rubber can take place.


There is a dire need for a modular tire that allows easy disassembly and reassembly of components to ensure their re-usability, thereby closing the circularity loop for End-of-Life tires. Continental, through this INAM Open Innovation Challenge, is looking for solutions to the challenges to develop the world’s first modular and circular tire.

Separating the component materials at the tire’s end of life is necessary before recycling to ensure that the reclaimed material is of high quality. This is highly challenging especially in the case of textile fabrics as the sulphur links formed during vulcanization process are not reversable.


Our goal is to find a new chemical and/or mechanical link that is able to provide reversible bonding (a bonding that endures under normal tire service conditions, but can be broken on purpose under certain conditions), maintaining the original physical characteristics. Solutions that enable separation of the current bonding system, are also welcomed. Solutions must not compromise the strength and endurance of the tire.

Alternatively, recycling processes that do not require separation at all may also be considered, provided that the recycled material can match the properties of the original material.


Key Benefit: Proof of Concept (PoC) & or product development project with Continental beginning right after the challenge (before EOY). Funds for PoC will be given by Continental. 

Other Benefits: 

  • You will be able to develop your technology to a mature state with an actual use case.

  • You will have a chance to develop strong cooperative ties to Continental.

  • Your team will be mentioned in Continental's communication measures (e.g., Social Media Content, Website-Stories, Internal news, Press releases).

  • You can grow your international network within Continental and its industry partners.

  • You can build your reputation through the strong brand that is Continental

product requirements

  • Must be applicable in the Tire / Rubber industry.

  •  Comply with automotive legal frameworks & standards

  • Must be able to be industrialized and scalable.

  • No ESH (Environmental Safety & Health) critical materials.

  • Integrity of the tire should not be compromised (full endurance capabilities, elongation at break no lower than 10 MPa).

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participation requirements

  • Any geography.

  • Ideally, mid-mature startups with capability to run POCs and collaborate with big corporations.

  • Chemical background is highly favorable. 



1 September -

15 October


Mid October


First week of November



15 December 2023

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Since its foundation in Hanover, Germany in 1871, Continental has been developing pioneering technologies and services for sustainable and connected mobility of people and their goods. From a small factory in Hanover the company has developed into one of the global players in the automotive industry, which is now operating in 58 countries and markets. Continental is the oldest independent and one of the largest tire manufacturers in the world.


Over the past 150 years, the company has set standards in the tire industry with its pioneering spirit and innovative strength. Time and again, it was Continental’s engineers who, with their ground-breaking inventions, ensured that tires became safer, more efficient, and sustainable. Meanwhile Continental is connecting its tires and their sensors to the cloud and offering its customers completely new, smart and digital tire solutions and services.

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