There's also a great benefit to the availability of soybeans and soybean oils, making the product an ideal resource for tires developed and made in and for the North American region.
Soybeans—second only to corn as a cash crop in the U.S.—are grown for their protein. About 18-20 percent of each bean is oil, so when soybeans are crushed to extract the protein, a large amount of oil results as a coproduct.
And when you consider just how many soybeans are grown annually in the U.S., the availability of the soybean oils is staggering, Woloszynek said.
"Even when you factor in all of the potential food applications for soybean oil, there is a significant surplus of that oil that comes as a coproduct," Woloszynek said. "These beans are not being grown so that Goodyear can use the soybean oil. The soybean oil is already there. And that is significant access."
The proof, he said, is a matter of simple math.
"In the United States, farmers grow over 4 billion bushels of soybeans a year—and a bushel is 60 pounds so that's 250 billion pounds. And 20 percent of that is 50 billion pounds of oil.
"And if two-thirds of that is used for food applications, you have a significant surplus of oil. Tens of billions of pounds," Woloszynek said. "And they are looking for high value uses. Because, as with any oil, it can be burned as fuel source. But if we are able to take that and find a higher-value use for it, it is a win-win. Not only for Goodyear, but for farmers across this country."
Goodyear has some lofty sustainability goals, among them is developing a tire made from 100 percent sustainable materials by 2030 and eliminating the use of petroleum oils in its products by 2040.
And with soybean oils at the center of those efforts—at least in North America—the tire maker is going to need as much of that soybean oil as it can get.
"The fact that it's a sustainable material technology, that's fine, but it's bringing a performance benefit to Goodyear," Woloszynek said. "So it is enabling us to continue delivering the products that set us apart and meet the demands of customers."