Goodyear's announcement marked the public unveiling of a two-year, ongoing collaboration between the soy checkoff and the Akron, Ohio-based company.
"The soy checkoff welcomes the opportunity to partner with Goodyear in bringing this tire to the market," says Russ Carpenter, a soybean farmer from Trumansburg, N.Y. and chair of the USB New Uses program. "The checkoff constantly looks for ways to improve the value of soy oil to U.S. soybean farmers and this new tire highlights soy's versatility in the marketplace."
The partnership began two years ago, after the 2008 spike in crude oil prices prompted Goodyear to evaluate petrochemical alternatives and propose research exploring soy oil's potential in its products. In full production, Goodyear estimates that it could use 7 million gallons of soy oil annually.
Goodyear's testing found that using soy not only lowered petrochemical amounts from the tire's manufacturing process, but also increased its efficiency by reducing energy and greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, soy oil's increased performance may yield up to 10 percent longer tread life.
"Goodyear is committed to caring for the environment and communities, and use of soy oil proves to be another way to accomplish this goal," said Jean-Claude Kihn, Goodyear's chief technical officer. "Consumers benefit through improved tread life, Goodyear gains with increased efficiency and energy savings and we all win whenever there is a positive impact on the environment."
If real-world testing runs smoothly, Goodyear expects the new soy-based tires to be available for purchase as early as 2015.
The 69 farmer-directors of USB oversee the investments of the soy checkoff to maximize profit opportunities for all U.S. soybean farmers. These volunteers invest and leverage checkoff funds to increase the value of U.S. soy meal and oil, to ensure U.S. soybean farmers and their customers have the freedom and infrastructure to operate, and to meet the needs of U.S. soy's customers. As stipulated in the federal Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for USB and the soy checkoff.
Goodyear is one of the world's largest tire companies. It employs approximately 72,000 people and manufactures its products in 53 facilities in 22 countries around the world. Its two Innovation Centers in Akron, Ohio, and Colmar-Berg, Luxembourg, strive to develop state-of-the-art products and services that set the technology and performance standard for the industry. For more information about Goodyear and its products, go to www.goodyear.com/corporate.