Tyre manufacturer Goodyear has developed commercial rapid transit tyres that replace petroleum-derived materials with a soy oil compound
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Spotted: Goodyear began making tyres using a soybean oil-based rubber compound in 2017, albeit in a limited way. Now, however, the company has announced that its Metro Miler G152 and G652 transit tyres will be manufactured using a soy-based compound in place of petroleum products. The move is an important step in Goodyear’s drive to completely replace petroleum-derived oils in its tyres by 2040.
According to Goodyear, the Metro Miler tyres will also incorporate technology to enhance toughness and tread life and resist sidewall damage. This includes reinforced shoulders and steel sidewalls, along with integrated sidewall wear indicators to make it easier to spot wear from excessive scuffing. The Metro Miler tyres also include a multi-compound, scrub resistant tread designed to stand up to the rigours of use in mass transit vehicles and resist excessive wear, chunking, cracking, and chipping.
The soybean oil will replace about 11 liquid ounces of free-flowing petroleum oil per tyre. This may not seem like a lot, especially compared to the 7 gallons of oil used to make a car tyre, but multiply that 11 ounces by a fleet of 1,600 buses – the rough number used by some major metropolitan cities in the U.S. The result could mean the use of around 20 fewer barrels of oil per city fleet.
Dustin Lancy, commercial product marketing manager for Goodyear North America, points out that, “The use of soybean oil in the majority of the Metro Miler G152 and G652 tyres in production today is a significant Goodyear innovation that reduces the amount of petroleum-based materials needed for production.” The tyres are currently in production and available for ordering.
It is not often considered, but tyres are a major polluter. From their use of petroleum-derived materials to the way they emit microplastics, it is important to find sustainable ways to manufacture tyres. Luckily, a number of innovators are working to solve this problem. Solutions range from making a natural rubber from dandelions to a rubber made from sulphur and canola oil.
Written By: Lisa Magloff