Goodyear is committed to delivering innovative products that help change the world of mobility and drive a sustainable future. Responsibly-sourced, more sustainable materials that deliver best-in-class quality and performance is part of Goodyear’s Better Future commitment.
When responsibly sourced, soybean oil is a bio-based material that can be used much like other oils, which should allow Goodyear to meet its goal of fully replacing petroleum-derived oils in its products by 2040. This mission has got off to an impressive start, too, as soybean oil consumption increased by 90% in 2019, ahead of a 25% goal by the end of 2020.
Promoting resource efficiency
By employing soybean oil, Goodyear’s use of petroleum-based oils can be reduced by up to 22 million gallons each year. Its rubber compounds also mix more easily with the polymers used in compound formulations. This, in turn, can result in both reduced energy use and greenhouse gas emissions during tyre production, which contribute to Goodyear’s goal to reduce these gases by 25% by 2023.
“A part-for-part replacement results in significant improvements in processing,” reports Dr. Bob Woloszynek, Goodyear’s chief engineer for raw materials development and reinforcement technology. “We ran evaluations in our plants and we saw a 7 to 15% reduction in how long it takes to mix a batch. We can then leverage that reduction into energy savings or in opening up capacity.”
Key performance advantages
Why soybean oil? Because it’s a vegetable oil, it goes from a rubber-like substance to glass at a very low temperature, which makes it perfect for balancing performance in wet and winter conditions. “It’s very easy to improve one attribute but normally there’s a significant trade off,” Dr. Woloszynek comments. “We’ve significantly improved one attribute without taking the hit on the other.”
In the EMEA region, the Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance 2 tyre compound employs the use of sunflower oil. “Most of the plant or vegetable oils similar to soybean oil do have their slight differences. But we’ve been able to take advantage of those to extend performance benefits for applicable products,” says Dr. Woloszynek.
Sustainable ways of working
Goodyear’s use of soybean oil technology echoes the gradual shift towards sustainable materials whose benefits appeal to consumers, fleet managers, and OEMs.
Goodyear’s goal of the full replacement of petroleum-derived oils by 2040 shows innovative thinking as well as dedication to more sustainable ways of working that not only have a positive impact on the environment but on performance, too.
Dr. Woloszynek says, “Soybean oil is a co-product of something that will always be grown because we need it to feed both people and animals. If Goodyear can take advantage of its surplus and use it for performance benefits, it’s a win-win for everybody.”