The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company announced a development that could
help consumers and the environment by reducing the amount of petroleum-based
oil used in tires, while at the same time, extending tread life.
Goodyear researchers at the company’s Innovation Center here have found in
their tests that using soybean oil in tires can potentially increase tread life
by 10% and reduce the tiremaker’s use of petroleum-based oil by up to seven
million gallons each year.
In addition, testing at Goodyear’s tire plant in Lawton, Okla., showed
improved mixing capabilities in the manufacturing process. The company found
that rubber compounds made with soybean oil blend more easily with the silica
used in building tires. This can improve plant efficiency and reduce energy
consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
“Goodyear is committed to caring for the environment and communities, and
use of soybean oil is proving to be another way to accomplish this goal,” said
Jean-Claude Kihn, Goodyear’s chief technical officer. “Consumers benefit
through improved tread life, Goodyear gains with increased efficiency and
energy savings and we all win whenever there is a positive impact on the
Prototype tires built in Lawton will be tested at Goodyear’s Proving Grounds
in San Angelo, Texas in the coming months. If indicators remain positive,
Goodyear expects consumers will be able to purchase tires made with soybean oil
as early as 2015.
The United Soybean Board (USB) is helping fund the Goodyear project with a
grant of $500,000 over two years.
“The United Soybean Board congratulates Goodyear for its commitment to
sustainability,” said Russ Carpenter, USB’s New Uses Committee chair and a
soybean farmer from Trumansburg, N.Y. “The ongoing discovery of novel
applications for soybean oil validates our commitment to the environment,
cultivating a renewable feedstock that reduces carbon emissions and provides a
natural replacement for petrochemical alternatives. The USB and America’s
soybean farmers are excited to support Goodyear in this effort to provide
consumers with cost-effective, eco-friendly products.”
The use of soybean oil is just one of the initiatives Goodyear is currently
undertaking to increase its use of renewable raw materials. Goodyear and DuPont
Industrial Biosciences continue to work together to develop BioIsoprene, a
revolutionary bio-based alternative for petroleum-derived isoprene. BioIsoprene
can be used for the production of synthetic rubber—which in turn is an
alternative for natural rubber—and other elastomers. The development of
BioIsoprene will help further reduce the tire and rubber industry’s dependence
on petroleum-derived products.
Another effort underway in Goodyear to save non-renewable fossil fuel is
Goodyear’s Air Maintenance Technology (AMT). AMT will help enable tires to
remain inflated at the optimum pressure—without the need for any external pumps
or electronics. All components of the AMT system will be fully contained within
the tire. The potential benefits of such a system include improved fuel
economy, reduced emissions, longer tire life, enhanced safety, and performance.
Source: Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company