Goodyear has developed a tire made from 90% sustainable materials that can also save fuel, but it's not destined for production just yet.
The "demonstration tire" passed all of Goodyear's internal testing, as well as all applicable regulatory testing, and was shown to have a lower rolling resistance than a comparable conventional tire, the company announced last week. Lower rolling resistance improves efficiency, meaning this tire would be a good fit for EVs or models designed to maximize gas mileage.
Goodyear claims to have used 17 major ingredients, including 12 different tire components that are either sustainably sourced or at least have a lower environmental impact than comparable materials currently used in production tires.
Goodyear tire manufacturing
One example is carbon black, which is used to reinforce the rubber compound in tires and is generally made by burning petroleum products. For this demonstration tire, Goodyear used four different types of carbon black made using methane, carbon dioxide, plant-based oil, and end-of-life tire pyrolysis oil feedstocks, which the company says result in lower carbon emissions from the production process.
Goodyear also used soybean oil, made from surplus soy from food and animal feed, to keep the rubber compound pliable in different temperatures. This is something Goodyear is already using using on some production tires. The company says eight of its product lines, including some racing tires, include soybean oil.
Other highlights include silica made from rice husk waste residue, recycled polyester from bottles, renewable pine-tree resins, polymers from bio-feedstock, and recycled steel for the cords. The steel is produced in an electric arc furnace, which requires less energy and allows for a higher level of recycled content than other processes, Goodyear claims.
Goodyear tire made from 70% sustainable material
The demonstration tire shows that Goodyear has the capability to make a tire with 90% sustainable content, even as it aims to launch a production tire with 70% sustainable content this year. Goodyear unveiled the 70% sustainable tire as a concept demonstration tire just a year ago, so it's moving fast.
Like the cars they're attached to, tires are undergoing an efficiency overhaul. Driving this are automakers' aims to lower carbon impact and up sustainable content. Hyundai and Michelin are for example partnering for such aims, Bridgestone last year announced plans to make natural-rubber tires from guayule from the American Southwest.
Farther off is the idea of a regenerating tire, with fluid-filled capsules, that Goodyear dreamed up about three years ago. Perhaps more difficult to make commercially viable, it could have a positive impact in its own way by reducing waste.