Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company is developing an automotive tire that could last longer and reduce the amount of petroleum-based oil used in the manufacturing process.
Company researchers have found that using soybean oil in making tires not only could significantly reduce dependency on petroleum-based oil, it could also increase the life of the tire’s tread.
“Consumers benefit through improved tread life, Goodyear gains with increased efficiency and energy savings,” said Goodyear’s chief technical officer, Jean-Claude Kihn. “And we all win whenever there is a positive impact on the environment.”
Engineers at Goodyear’s Oklahoma plant found that rubber compounds made with soybean oil blend more easily with the silica used in manufacturing tires. This process can improve plant efficiency, while reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
Researchers discovered that tires manufactured using soybean oil have a tread life that is up to 10 per cent longer than tires made with petroleum-based oil. The company estimates it could cut its petroleum requirements by seven million gallons a year.
Goodyear will begin testing prototypes in the months ahead and expects to bring the new breed of tire to market by 2015. This is great news for the United Soybean Board (USB), which is supporting Goodyear’s initiative with a grant of $500,000 over the next two years. Goodyear will display a tire made using soybean oil in early August at Ford’s research centre in Michigan.
“The ongoing discovery of novel applications for soybean oil validates our commitment to the environment,” said soybean farmer Russ Carpenter, who is chairman of USB’s New Uses Committee. “The United Soybean Board congratulates Goodyear for its commitment to sustainability.”
More information on Goodyear’s research initiatives to save non-renewable fossil fuel is available at the company’s website. For more on the United Soybean Board, visit its website.