Goodyear turns rice into tyres

Rice husk ash, to be specific

Goodyear is boosting its green credentials by switching its source of silica to rice husk ash, a waste product of rice milling.

Silicon dioxide – silica for short – is a porous compound that has featured in performance tyres for more than a decade. Manufacturers claim that it can help to reduce rolling resistance by as much as 20 per cent and that it also helps to improve tyre integrity. Silica currently make up 15 per cent of each tyre Goodyear makes.

Subscribe to evo magazine

evo is 21 and to celebrate, we're returning to 1998 prices! Subscribe now to SAVE 39% on the shop price and get evo for its original cover price of £3.00 an issue, plus get a FREE gift worth £25!

‘We use silica in our high-performance tyres to improve two main areas – fuel economy, by reducing rolling resistance, and grip on wet road surfaces,’ explains Surendra Chawla, Goodyear’s director of corporate research.

Rice husk is one of the most silica-rich raw materials on the planet and there’s plenty of it. Seven hundred million tons of rice are harvested worldwide each year, and often the leftover husk is burned for energy and then crammed into a landfill.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

Goodyear has been working on the idea of using husk ash for more than two years, but has only now decided that the practice is ready. However, implementation won’t immediately save the company money.

‘Using rice husk is no cheaper than conventional methods. In fact, it’s a little bit more expensive at the moment, but we’re currently working hard to keep costs down so prices don’t grow for the consumer,’ says Chawla. Long-term, production costs should begin to fall.

All of Goodyear’s performance tyres, including the Eagle F1 Asymmetric, will benefit from this development from April. Could rice husk silica help the Eagle F1 (fitted to cars like the RCZ R - pictured) improve on its third-place ranking in our recent tyre test (evo 201)? Chawla is confident it won’t hurt its chances.

‘The best thing is that the driver won’t notice any difference to tyre feel, it doesn’t compromise anything,’ he says.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/toyota/yaris/201932/toyota-gr-yaris-revealed-in-full-return-of-the-homologation-special
Toyota Yaris

Toyota GR Yaris revealed in full – return of the homologation special

One of most sought after hot hatchbacks of 2020 has finally been revealed: the Toyota GR Yaris
10 Jan 2020
Visit/honda/civic-type-r/202099/new-2020-honda-civic-type-r-makes-debut-at-tokyo-auto-salon
Honda Civic Type-R

New 2020 Honda Civic Type R makes debut at Tokyo Auto Salon

Honda has released the first images of the revised Civic Type R that’s being shown for the first time in Tokyo
10 Jan 2020
Visit/bmw/x3/202087/bmw-x3-m-2020-review-the-right-ingredients-in-a-very-wrong-package
BMW X3

BMW X3 M 2020 review – the right ingredients in a very wrong package

The first BMW X3 M previews the next BMW M3’s all-new powertrain, let's hope it doesn’t preview anything else
8 Jan 2020
Visit/hyundai/201819/hyundai-i30-fastback-n-versus-the-nurburgring
Hyundai i30 N

Hyundai i30 Fastback N versus the Nurburgring

We brought the Hyundai i30 Fastback back to its spiritual home in Germany's Eifel mountains, where there is a racing track you might well have heard o…
7 Oct 2019