The Goodyear Tire and Rubber company will now source silica, used in manufacturing of tyres, from Yihai Food and Oil Industry in China. The American tyre manufacturer will start using this silica in a consumer tyre for Chinese market. It will be produced in the company’s manufacturing plant in Pulandian, China.
This newly-sourced silica has been tested for over 2 years at Goodyear Innovation Center in Akron. The results show the impact of this silica is similar to that of the traditionally-sourced silica.
Richard J Kramer, Chairman and CEO, Goodyear, said, “Sustainability is a cornerstone of Goodyear’s innovation efforts. This new silica benefits the environment in many ways – (a) it reduces waste going into landfills; (b) it requires less energy to produce and; (c) it helps make tyres more fuel efficient.”
According to Food and Agricultural Organisation of United States, more than 700 million tons of rice is harvested worldwide. Therefore, disposal of rice husk is an environmental concern. Often, this residual rice husk is burned off to produce electricity, reducing the amount of waste shipped to landfills. The ash left after burning has been converted into silica for many years, but only recent improvement in the process made it usable for tyre manufacturing. Silica is used as a filler to reinforce the tyre during rubber vulcanisation process. Earlier, an agent called carbon black was used in place of silica.
There are many benefits of using silica instead of carbon black as it reduces rolling resistance and ultimately improves the fuel economy. It also help the tyre work better on wet surfaces. To fulfill the demand for silica, Goodyear is also in negotiating terms with additional suppliers. Financial details of this agreement are undisclosed.