- Category: Low-Carbon Biz
26 Jul 2012
- Published on Thursday, 26 July 2012 11:16
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Soybeans are the key to a longer-lasting, less petroleum-hungry rubber tire.
This is the finding of Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company whose researchers have been working to reduce the amount of petroleum-based oils used in tires by replacing it with soybean oil.
They found that using soybean oil can potentially increase tread life by 10 percent and reduce the company’s use of petroleum by up to 7 million gallons each year.
“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.
Testing at Goodyear’s tire plant in Lawton, Oklahoma also showed improved mixing capabilities in the manufacturing process. Rubber compounds made with soybean oil blend more easily with the silica used in building tires for a reduction in the energy consumption of the manufacturing process.
“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,” said Mr. Kihn.
The United Soybean Board is helping to fund Goodyear’s work with soybeans, providing a grant of $500,000 over two years. Goodyear will display a tire made with soybean oil on August 6-7 at the Ford Motor Company’s research center in Dearborn, Michigan, as part of an event sponsored by the board.
Meanwhile, prototype tires build in Lawton will be tested at the company’s proving grounds in San Angelo, Texas in the coming months. If indicators remain positive, Goodyear expects to roll out tires made with soybean oil by 2015. – EcoSeed Staff