One of the world’s largest tyre companies, Goodyear, announced an innovation that uses ash left over from the burning of rice husks to produce electricity as an environmentally friendly source of silica for its tires. Once destined for landfills, rice husk is now helping The Goodyear Tyre & Rubber Company produce fuel-efficient tyres.
At the brand’s innovation centre in Akron, Ohio, silica derived from rice husk ash was tested for over two years and its impact on tyre performance to be equal to traditional sources. Negotiations with potential suppliers are in process to purchase rice husk ash silica for use in its tyres.
“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,” said Joseph Zekoski, Interim Chief Technical Officer. “This illustrates Goodyear’s commitment to innovation and to the environment,” he said in a press release from the company.
In their statement, the company added that according to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, Each year, more than 700 million tons of rice is harvested worldwide 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.
The company aims to utilise this husk to obtain silica which is mixed with rubber in tyre treads to increase the rubber’s strength and help reduce rolling resistance, which improves fuel economy. Silica is also knows to have a positive impact on a tyre’s traction on wet surfaces, the statement said.