In 2020, Goodyear pledged to develop a new tire made entirely of sustainable materials within the next decade. Today the company has unveiled a tire with 70 percent sustainable material content, which shows the progress it has made towards achieving its ultimate goal. The tire features 13 ingredients across nine different tire components, including three different carbon blacks that are traditionally made by burning petroleum products.
Carbon black is typically used as a filler to reinforce tires, as well as other rubber products, and to lengthen their lifespan. Instead of using carbon black produced using petroleum, Goodyear used ones that were made using methane, carbon dioxide and plant-based oil. The company says the methods of production its suppliers used to create the sustainable carbon blacks generated less carbon emissions than traditional processes.
Goodyear has also been using soybean oil for certain tire lines instead of petroleum oil, and this one is no different. Soybean oil allows tires to remain pliable in changing temperatures with added traction benefits. The company had been aiming to use 100 percent soybean oil in four of its tire lines in 2020, but it fell short due to production issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Goodyear's new tire uses a variety of silica, which improves tire grip and help lower fuel consumption, made from rice husk ash, as well. Rice husk ash is a by-product of rice milling, and it's pretty abundant in rice producing countries. Researchers have ben looking into its use as an alternative for cement and and as a source of silica, and according to Goodwill, it was able to produce high-quality silica from the waste material. In addition, the company broke down polyester materials recycled from plastic bottles and other plastic wastes into their base chemicals. They were then turned into technical grade polyester used for tire cords that maintain the shape of the tire.
Chris Helsel, chief technology officer at Goodyear, said the 70 percent sustainable tire "is an exciting achievement that demonstrates [the company's] commitment to increasing the use of sustainable materials." That said, it was manufactured as a demo product, and the company has yet to reveal whether it will be released to the public.