BRUSSELS, Belgium (Oct. 20) — The European Union has awarded $3.8 million to Goodyear to help it demonstrate the technical and economic viability of an environmentally friendly tire design that achieves reductions in rolling-resistance of up to 30 percent.
In the project documents, Goodyear said: "The project´s first component aims to develop an alternative to traditional fillers used in tires to reinforce the lower sidewall. The new filler will be made from renewable resources — a new biopolymeric filler produced from corn starch — thereby reducing its environmental impact and allowing reductions in CO2 emissions during its production.
"The project´s second component consists of an in-depth analysis and modification of the tire structure, aimed at minimizing energy loss while the vehicle is in motion."
The award is part of $83 million the EU awarded recently for innovation in environmental technologies under its LIFE-Environment program, which co-finances innovative pilot and demonstration projects.
Goodyear said the total project cost is $15.6 million. The official project reference is "LIFE06 ENV/L/000118 — Bio Tyre."
The company has been working on the corn starch-based filler since the mid-1990s and launched a tire, the GT3 BioTread, in 1999 using the material.