Tires are one of those things that we rely on in our cars but don't necessarily think about, outside of a performance context. We definitely don't think about where they come from, what they're made of or what happens to them when they've reached the end of their useful life. Luckily, tire companies like Goodyear are thinking about that stuff and developing ways to make tires more environmentally friendly.
Goodyear showed off its new sustainable-material tire, and it's notable because 70% of that tire's construction materials come from renewable sources. Now, this moves beyond using things like recycled steel for the belts. For example, Goodyear has developed a process that uses soybean oils to help the tire remain pliable across a range of temperatures. The three types of carbon black used in the tire come from renewable sources, which at initial estimates produce less carbon in production than typical compounds.
But wait, as they say, there's more. Silica is an essential part of modern tire compounds, and Goodyear is using silica that comes from rice hull ash, a byproduct of rice processing. There's also recycled polyester in this sustainable tire which comes from recycled plastic bottles.
The thing that's especially cool about this concept tire is that, unlike others with living organisms in them, it seems like something that could almost be produced now for public consumption. Nothing on display is far-fetched future stuff, and those are our favorite kinds of concepts. This tire, though, is just a stepping stone toward Goodyear's ambitious goal of producing a tire by 2030 that's made from 100% sustainable materials, and that's even more exciting.