AKRON, OHIO, U.S. — The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company announced on July 24 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 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 7 million gallons each year.
In addition, testing at Goodyear's tire plant in Lawton, Oklahoma, U.S., 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 environment."
Prototype tires built in Lawton will be tested at Goodyear's Proving Grounds in San Angelo, Texas, U.S., 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. Goodyear will display a tire made with soybean oil on Aug. 6-7 at The Ford Motor Company's research center in Dearborn, Michigan, U.S., as part of an event sponsored by the USB.
"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, New York, U.S. "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."