With a goal to produce a tire from completely sustainable sources, which in turn will help eliminate the use of petroleum and cut down on emissions during production, Goodyear says it has produced a demonstration tire that is made up of 70% of sustainable materials.
Goodyear set the goal to produce a tire using all sustainable materials by 2030 and production of the prototype tire significantly cut the use of petroleum-based materials. The tire includes 13 ingredients across nine tire components, including soybean oil, rice husk ash and polyester developed from plastic waste.
The use of soybean oil in tires is a Goodyear innovation, the company says, that helps keep the rubber compound pliable in changing temperatures. Because soybean oil is bio-based, its use also cuts the company’s need to include petroleum products in production.
Goodyear put a procurement policy into place in 2021 to help farmers, processers and the rest of its supply chain use sustainable practices to harvest soybeans. It is part of the company’s goal to have a supply chain free from deforestation.
As the company has moved away from petroleum-based products, it increased its use of soybeans by 73% in 2020 from 2019.
Another piece of tire production is carbon black, which is included for compound reinforcement and to help increase the life of the tire. It has traditionally been made by burning various types of petroleum products.
The new tire features three carbon blacks that are produced from methane, carbon dioxide and plant-based oil. Goodyear says initial assessments of the process shows either reduced carbon emissions compared to current carbon black production or the use of bio-based or waste feedstock sources instead of traditional methods.
The company has also changed how it uses silica in the production of the tire. The ingredient is used to help improve grip and reduce fuel consumption. The new tire uses a type of silica produced from rice husk ash, which Goodyear says is a byproduct of rice processing that is often discarded.
Goodyear also has produced the polyester needed for tire cords with recycled materials from plastic waste. The company says it has reverted the polyester into its base chemicals and reformed it into technical grade polyester for feasible tire cords.
This product is just one piece of a growing priority by the tire industry to improve sustainability across its operations. A group a group of companies including Goodyear released a roadmap in 2021 to participate in the UN’s sustainable development goals. The group aims to make sustainable improvements in the supply chain, operations and products as part of that effort.
Others such as Bridgestone have invested in new tools in supply chain sustainability improvements
Regarding Goodyear’s sustainable tire, the company says testing of the prototype shows that it has strong overall performance.
“We set an ambitious goal in 2020 to create a tire made 100% from sustainable materials in 10 years and our scientists and engineers have made great progress toward that goal,” says Chris Helsel, Goodyear’s senior vice president of global operations and chief technology officer.