You can fry eggs on the hood of your car (or so it’s been said). Bologna will peel paint off a car if you let the bologna dry out on it. If you have a driver’s side window, you can stop and get drive through food. Bananas stuck into tail pipes prevent cars from starting.
These aren’t productive intersections of food and cars, of course. (No, I don’t qualify drive through food as productive; eating while you drive is just as distracting as talking on your cell phone.) But the examples show that food and cars have a history together, which likely paved the way for Goodyear’s rubber-to-the-road innovation; it’s a food/car intersection that actually does do something worthwhile.
Goodyear researchers at its Innovation Center in Akron have discovered that soybean oil (normally used to cook, fry or bake food) can also be used to make tires.
The rubber compounds made with soybean oil blend more easily with the silica that’s used in building tires, helping to improve plant efficiency and reduce energy consumption.
These fancy new tires Goodyear’s developed may reduce the company’s use of petroleum-based oil by up to seven million gallons a year. The soybean oil can increase tread life as much as ten percent, too.
The tires will be tested at Goodyear’s Proving Grounds (that sounds ominous and cultish) in San Angelos, Texas in the coming months. If all goes well, Goodyear may have these suckers on the road in 2015.
The United Soybean Board is helping fund the project with a grant of $500,000 over the next two years.
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