Last July, Goodyear announced that they have been experimenting with replacing the petroleum-based oils in their tires with soybean oil. Goodyear predicts that the first soybean oil tires will be available in the tire marketplace sometime in 2015.
There’s A Lot More to Soybean Oil Than Just P.R.
Goodyear and other tire manufacturers have been actively working to make their factories greener. Going green helps them to reduce costs, protect the environment, and boost their public images.
Goodyear has been experimenting with Earth-friendly tire recipes for another reason as well. The giant tire manufacturer considers it crucial to find alternatives to petroleum in case the cost of crude oil dramatically increases.
According to Goodyear, using soybean oil to replace petroleum-based oil will bring some strong benefits. Goodyear now expects soybean oil to significantly improve certain tire properties and expects it to be beneficial to the tire manufacturing process as well.
Goodyear Cites Several Soybean Oil Advantages:
- The use of soybean oil in tires is expected to increase tread life by as much as 10%.
- Soybean oil will be provided in a steady supply and at a predictable cost.
- Silica, an important tire compound ingredient, blends faster and easier with soybean oil than it does with petroleum based oil. That makes for a smoother manufacturing process, which translates into significant cost savings.
- Factory energy consumption will be reduced.
- Soybean oil can potentially cut 7 million gallons of petroleum-based oil per year from Goodyear’s usage.
- Because soybeans are a sustainable crop, soybean oil prices and availability are expected to be steady for years to come.
Goodyear says there are no technical manufacturing obstacles in the way. Soybean oil can easily fit into its present day manufacturing processes. The research continues, and soybean oil looks promising.