The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking spots. Fortunately Goodyear is managing to stay on track with its plan to replace petroleum-based oil with soybean oil in tires – a process driven by soy-checkoff-supported technology.
Two years ago, researchers at Goodyear’s Innovation Center in Akron, Ohio discovered that using soybean oil in tires can increase tread life by 10 percent and could reduce the company’s petroleum-based oil use by up to 7 million gallons each year.
Additional testing at Goodyear’s tire plant in Lawton, Okla., showed that soy brings improved mixing capabilities in the manufacturing process. This can improve plant efficiency and could reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
Testing to qualify soybean oil for a technical release in tire tread applications is expected this year, and patent applications have been filed.
The oil content of a typical passenger tire is 8 percent by weight. One day, Goodyear hopes to completely replace all petroleum-based oils with soybean oil in its tires, which could use almost 54 million pounds of soybean oil each year.