Vietnamese and Japanese researchers have developed technologies to reduce proteins in natural rubber, thereby permitting the production of high-performance rubber materials and alleviate the environmental burden caused by natural rubber processing.
The scientists presented their research results at a session during the International Rubber Conference held in HCM City last week.
Researchers at Ha Noi University of Science and Technology, the Rubber Research Institute of Viet Nam and Nagaoka University of Technology collaborated on the project, "Establishment of Carbon-Cycle-System with Natural Rubber", funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency and Japan Science and Technology.
Begun in 2011, the project is expected to be completed in March 2016.
It aims to reduce CO2 emissions by replacing fossil-resource originated synthetic rubber with carbon-neutral natural rubber.
It also seeks to create new industries in automotive or fuel cell fields through the application of high-performance rubber and advanced polymers from protein-free natural rubber.
The newly developed technology enhances the safety level of rubber products and promotes replacement of synthetic rubber with natural rubber.
Using low-protein rubber, the Duy Hang Rubber Company in HCM City has produced trial pieces of gloves.
The research project has also developed advanced wastewater treatment technology for rubber processing factories. This helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions and recover methane as an energy resource.
Professor Fukuda Masao, the project leader and one of the pioneer researchers in the field of natural rubber, said: "The project has produced essential outcomes which will promote the substitution of carbon-neutral natural rubber for synthetic rubber made from fossil resources and contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases.
"As rubber production in Viet Nam has been growing rapidly in recent years, the development of new natural rubber products will contribute to green development in Viet Nam."