The Van Trump Report

At Goodyear, Soybeans and Rice are Replacing Rubber

In 1903, Goodyear secured a patent for the world’s first tubeless automobile tire, a business that grew exponentially alongside America’s burgeoning car industry. As vehicles have changed through the years, Goodyear’s ability to innovate and willingness to shift in step with changing customer demand has kept it among the top tire manufacturers in the world. With vehicle makers now working to use more sustainable materials, Goodyear is again keeping pace with new tires that contain 90% sustainable materials, including soybean oil and rice husk waste.      

Goodyear is tight-lipped on the exact makeup of its new tire but claims to have used 17 major ingredients, including 12 different tire components that are either sustainably sourced or at least have a lower environmental impact than comparable materials currently used in production tires. That includes recycled polyester from bottles, and recycled steel for the cords. The steel is produced in an electric arc furnace, which requires less energy and allows for a higher level of recycled content than other processes, Goodyear claims.

Another key ingredients Goodyear used is soybean oil, which the says enhances traction in rain and snow and improves the flexibility of the tire in lower temperatures. Goodyear has actually been using soybean oil for some time now, with the ingredient now in eight of its product lines, including a 70% sustainable material tire that Goodyear unveiled last year. Other novel ingredients in the 90% sustainable tire include rice husk ash silica to improve grip, pine resins to replace standard petroleum-based resins, and various polymers provided by bio-feedstocks.

The new demonstration tire, revealed at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, has already passed all the regulatory tests required to prove its roadworthiness. However, the company says the demonstration tire only proves it has the capability to make a tire with 90% sustainable content. More work is needed to shore up materials supplies before Goodyear can start commercial production. The overall goal is to make a 100% sustainable tire by 2030.

Goodyear doesn’t have a clear timeline for the new tire yet but the 70% sustainable material tire announced in 2022 is expected to go into production this year. The company has a site set up for anyone interested in buying the sustainable tires when they’re ready HERE. (Sources: Car&Driver, CleanTechnica) 

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