Goodyear Tire and Rubber is working on a new technology that can help make its tires less expensive to produce and last longer and it involves something that the U.S. has plenty of – soybeans.
Goodyear researchers have found that using soybean oil in the manufacturing process can extend the tread life of tires and significantly reduce the amount of petroleum required, "up to seven million gallons each year" for the company as a whole. Adding soy to rubber compounds in tire production, the company says, has proven to improve the mixing process, and creates a better rubber compound. The soy helps the rubber blend easier with the silica, a basic component of ordinary beach sand and an integral tire ingredient.
Goodyear is the the best-selling tire-manufacturer in North America. Adding soy, Goodyear says, could enhance its already strong reputation for quality. Goodyear has consistently been a top pick in ConsumerReports' tire ratings. Therefore, a 10-percent increase to tread life could play well with consumers looking to get more miles for their tire bucks.
"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 Jean-Claude Kihn, Goodyear's chief technical officer, in a statement.
If testing continues to produce the results Goodyear has gotten thus far, the tires could be on sale by 2015.
Via green Autoblog