Who would have imagined that rice, the food that feeds the world, could also help to fuel our nations and keep us moving!
Yet that is effectively what the humble rice husk is going to be doing by helping Goodyear produce energy to manufacture its fuel-efficient tyres.
The US tyre maker has announced it is is going to use left over from the burning of rice husks to produce electricity as an environmentally friendly source of silica for use in its tyres.
The company has tested silica derived from rice husk ash over the past two years at its Innovation Centre and found its impact on tyre performance to be equal to traditional sources. Goodyear is negotiating with potential suppliers to purchase rice husk ash silica for use in its tyres.
Joseph Zekoski, Interim Chief Technical Officer for Goodyear tyres, explained: “The use of rice husk ash will provide Goodyear an alternative source of silica while helping reduce the amount of rice husk waste being landfilled. This illustrates Goodyear’s commitment to innovation and to the environment.”
Each year, more than 700 million tonnes of rice is harvested worldwide, according to the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations, and disposing of the rice husks is an environmental challenge. As a result, husks often are burned to generate electricity and reduce the amount of waste shipped to landfills.
Silica is mixed with rubber in tyre treads to increase the rubber’s strength and help reduce rolling resistance, which improves fuel economy. It also can have a positive impact on a tyre’s traction on wet surfaces.
Zeloski added: “Goodyear’s innovation efforts are focused on making tyres more environmentally friendly – in their materials, in their performance and in the manufacturing process. For example, we continue to explore ways to increase the fuel efficiency of tyres. We strive to help consumers keep their tyres operating optimally, through innovations such as Air Maintenance Technology (AMT). And we look to renewable resources, including soy bean oil, to replace petroleum-based materials in tyres.”
Denna Bowman, Head Office