The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. has 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 in Akron, Ohio, 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 environment.”
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.
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