BRUSSELS, Belgium—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 carbon dioxide 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."
Goodyear 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.