The famous tire maker will also start selling a 70% sustainable material tire in 2023.
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has managed to design and manufacture a tire made up of 90% sustainable materials, and it already has Department of Transport (DOT) approval. Goodyear unveiled the 90% demonstration tire at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, 12 months after the 70% sustainable tire made its debut at CES 2022.
Not only does it take Goodyear one step closer to making a 100% sustainable tire, but the demo model on display also has lower rolling resistance compared to a reference tire made from traditional materials. Lower rolling resistance means decreased fuel usage, though an estimated figure was not provided.
Though the tire is DOT approved, it's not yet ready for production. According to Goodyear, it will require further collaboration with its supply base to identify the scale necessary for high-volume production. Goodyear might want to connect with The Tyre Collective, who recently devised a new way to collect rubber marbles.
Goodyear's demonstration tire comprises 17 ingredients across 12 different components. Goodyear provided a highlight list with just a few replacement ingredients compared to the more traditional recipe for making a tire.
The carbon black, which makes the compound strong to increase tire life, is usually made by burning fossil fuel. The demo tire has four types of carbon black produced from methane, carbon dioxide, plant-based oil, and end-of-life tire pyrolysis oil feedstocks.
Soybean oil keeps the rubber pliable in changing temperatures. Goodyear mentions that nearly 100% of current soy protein is used in food/animal feed but that there is a significant surplus of oil.
The typical silica, which provides grip, was replaced with new high-quality silica made from rice husk waste residue, often discarded to landfills as a mere byproduct of producing rice. The polyester in the tire is made from post-consumer bottles, while the traditional resins were replaced with pine tree resin.
"Last January, we announced a 70% sustainable-material tire, and while we celebrated this accomplishment, we knew it set the foundation for us to continue to push forward," said Chris Helsel, senior vice president, global operations, and chief technology officer. "Over the past year, we researched new technologies, identified opportunities for further collaboration, and utilized our team's ingenuity and tenacity to achieve this tremendous accomplishment, increasing the sustainable-material content used in a tire by 20 percentage points."
While the 90% tire is not yet ready for production, Goodyear plans to sell a tire with up to 70% sustainable material content in 2023. The aim is to have a 100% sustainable-material tire on the market by 2030, which correlates with global guidelines for PHEVs and EVs, which would benefit the most from these tires. Cars like the Toyota Prius are already equipped with low-resistance tires to eke out every last drop of fuel, and having 100% environmentally-friendly tires would be another selling point.
Goodyear also states that it has completed a proof of concept experiment for its SightLine technology that can accurately predict road friction through the tires. Partnering with Gatik, a company known for fully autonomous commercial vehicle operations, Goodyear has been able to use the tech to help autonomous delivery vehicles adjust on the fly to changing surfaces, reducing the risk of incidents and thus improving safety.
Sightline can measure tire wear, load, inflation pressure, and temperature. It then uses real-time data like the weather and proprietary rubber friction models to estimate the road friction potential. Given the potential of autonomous trucks to do severe damage if a tire bursts, one can see how useful this technology would be.
"The tire is the only part of the vehicle that touches the ground, and this new level of data sophistication can communicate vital information to the vehicle, enhancing safety and performance," said Helsel. "This is another step to evolve the tire to not only deliver its core, traditional job but also be a nexus of new data and information."