Tech Talk: Sustainable tyres pass a new milestone

Goodyear's demonstration tyre is 90% sustainable, using ingredients from soybean oil to plastic bottles.

By Jesse Crosse, Autocar UK calendar 30 Jan 2023 Views icon5829 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
Tech Talk: Sustainable tyres pass a new milestone

Some aspects of making cars more sustainable are taking much longer than others, but one that appears to be making quicker progress is the tyre.

Goodyear has announced a demonstration tyre made from 90% sustainable materials that meets all the necessary regulations and has passed its own internal tests for performance and safety.

The tyre isn’t only substantially greener than conventional counterparts but has a lower rolling resistance too, reducing the carbon footprint during use of any car fitted with them.

In 2021 and 2022, Goodyear, Michelin, Continental and Falken all reported progress in replacing petroleum-based ingredients of tyre compounds with renewable materials. One example is the use by Goodyear and Continental of natural latex derived from the roots of dandelions, while Michelin has been working on its Bio Butterfly project to develop a bio version of butadiene rubber from fermented biomass.

At the start of 2022, Goodyear announced success in constructing a tyre made from 70% sustainable materials, and that tyre will go into production this year. More work needs to be done by the company and its suppliers to figure out how enough materials can be sourced to make its 90% green tyre a commercial reality.

Tyres are ferociously complex, despite their boring appearance. Goodyear’s 90% demonstration tyre is made from 17 ingredients across 12 different components within the tyre. Rather than being made from burning petroleum-based products, carbon black, used to reinforce the compound and increase tyre life, is derived from four different sustainable sources in the new tyre: methane, carbon dioxide, plant-based oil and pyrolysis oil from recycled tyres.

Soybean oil is used to ensure the compound remains pliable across different temperature ranges. The oil is a leftover byproduct of soy protein food and animal-feed manufacturing.

The silica used in tyres to improve grip and reduce rolling resistance (and fuel consumption) has been produced from rice-husk waste (RHA silica), which again is a byproduct, this time from rice processing, and usually ends up in landfill. Goodyear says it’s on track to produce the first tyre made from 100% sustainable materials by 2030.

Polyester is still used in the new tyre, but it’s recycled from plastic bottles. The bottles are reduced to base chemicals and then reformed into the high-grade polymer used for making the tyre cords that form the skeleton of the tyre carcass.

Other stuff includes resins, used to help generate traction and derived from renewable pine resin in place of petroleum-based resin. Also, the steel cords used in the structure of a radial tyre are made from steel containing a high proportion of recycled steel.

Electric arc furnaces used to smelt the steel produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions than the traditional blast furnace. ISCC-certified (International Sustainability and Carbon Certification) polymers from renewable bio sources are also used in the tyre.

Tech Talk: How Continental is making a transparent infotainment system

auther Autocar Pro News Desk calendar04 Mar 2024

Continental's adaptive crystal display has inbuilt AI, a touchscreen function and even a holographic humanoid.

AI is the key to safer EV batteries

auther Autocar Pro News Desk calendar25 Feb 2024

Predictive analytics powered by artificial intelligence can anticipate battery failures or degradation by analysing huge...

How Bharat Mobility Global Expo aims to bring excitement into Auto Shows

auther Autocar Pro News Desk calendar21 Feb 2024

By drawing the participation of every key player in the automobile and component sector, as well as major industry assoc...