July 2012: Soybean Oil Good for Tyres – Goodyear Research Reveals
It is indeed true that nature has many secrets concealed up its sleeve. It only needs patience and dedicated research to ‘discover’ them.
A case in point is the recent discovery by Goodyear that soybean oil offers a variety of benefits when used in the manufacture of tyres.
Effect of Soybean Oil on Tyres
According to tests carried out by the Goodyear research team, the use of soybean oil in the manufacture of tyres has the potential to increase the tread life by as much as 10%. This naturally translates to longer tyre life and durability, which is good news for consumers.
Environmental Implications of the Research Results
Looking at the bigger picture, the research results are extremely significant from the environmental point of view. It has been established that the use of soybean oil in the manufacture of tyres will reduce Goodyear’s use of petroleum based raw materials for tyre manufacture by 26.5 million litres annually. Imagine the positive impact on the environment
The tests that are being carried out at the Goodyear plant in Lawton, Oklahoma, have also established that the use of soybean oil in the rubber improves its mixing properties. The process of mixing rubber with silica, an integral part of the tyre manufacturing process, is currently very energy intensive.
With soybean oil in the rubber, this mixing will be accomplished with lower consumption of energy. This will of course increase overall plant efficiency for Goodyear, while helping the environment by that much.
“Goodyear is Committed to Caring for the Environment and Communities”, says Jean-Claude Kihn
Goodyear Chief Technical Officer Mr. Jean-Claude Kihn reiterated that the company is deeply committed to caring for the environment as well as its customers and the recent research only shows the results of this commitment.
Mr. Kihn added that with the innovative soybean oil tyres, customers benefit from improved tyre tread life; the company benefits due to increased efficiency and everyone benefits because of the positive environmental impact.
United Soybean Board Appreciates Goodyear’s Efforts
The Goodyear soybean research has been ably supported by the United Soybean Board, which is a representative agency of the US soybean farmers. The board has funded this project to the tune of USD 500,000 over a period of two years. They are obviously delighted with the results and congratulated Goodyear.
Mr. Russ Carpenter, representing the Board said that the United Soybean Board as well as the American soybean farmers are excited with the discovery of a novel application for soybean that helps curb the usage of petroleum products and protects the environment. He reiterated the Board’s continued support for Goodyear further in this endeavour.
Goodyear revealed that work is taking place at the Lawton plant to build a prototype of the soybean oil tyres. These prototypes will be tested in the near future in San Angelo, Texas, where several of Goodyear tyres have been tested.
Mr. Kihn revealed that if all goes well in the tests (as he expects it to), there would be no reason to delay commercial production.
In fact, you may see tyres made with soybean oil in the market as early as 2015.