AKRON — Collaborating with the United Soybean Board (USB), Goodyear is introducing the first commercially available tires made with a soybean oil-based rubber compound.
Goodyear's soybean oil-based Assurance WeatherReady passenger tires are due out in September, according to the USB.
The tire will be offered in a wide range of sizes, covering 77 percent of the cars, minivans and SUVs on the road today, the board said.
Assurance WeatherReady tires represent "yet another market opportunity for soybean oil and, in return, a profit opportunity for soybean farmers," the USB said.
By employing soybean oil in tires, Goodyear has found a new way to keep rubber compounds pliable in changing temperatures, according to the tire maker.
Goodyear's tests show that rubber made with soybean oil mixes more easily in the silica-reinforced compounds used in manufacturing certain tires, it said.
The resulting compound enhances tire performance in dry, wet and winter conditions, Goodyear said.
The soybean rubber project was funded in part by the soybean checkoff, a fund paid for by soybean farmers to develop new applications and opportunities for soybean-based products.
"USB's 73 farmer-directors work on behalf of all U.S. soybean farmers to achieve maximum value for their soy checkoff investments," the USB said in a press release.
"These volunteers invest and leverage checkoff funds in programs and partnerships to drive soybean innovation beyond the bushel and increase preference for U.S. soy," it said.