Vipal Rubber is researching the possibility of using rice husk residue as a raw material for the rubber industry, the result of a partnership between Vipal, the University of Caxias do Sul, in Brazil, and Lodz Poland University of Technology. Goodyear released a rice husk silica tyre in China in mid-2015, before announcing in November 2020 that is would double its rice husk usage by 2021; and Pirelli announced that it was researching the use of rice husk ash in new tyre compounds back in April 2009; but Vipal is the first retreading compound maker to go public with its use of rice husks in compounding.
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company is using soubean-oil based rubber in the development of tyre products in conjunction with the United Soybean Board (USB). The USB is a group of farmer-directors who oversee the investments of a checkoff programme on behalf of all US soybean farmers. The USB provided some funding support for the development of Goodyear’s soybean oil application in tyres.
Fedil, the Luxembourg Business Federation, has presented Goodyear a 2015 Environmental Award for its work with rice husk ash silica. The ‘resource efficiency’ category award was presented by Fedil president Robert Dennewald and Camille Gira, Luxembourg’s state secretary for sustainable development and infrastructure. Romain Hansen, Goodyear’s global director of technology projects, accepted the award on behalf of the ‘Rice Husk Ash Silica’ development team.
Global rice paddy production amounts to around 700 million tonnes each year, and some 20 per cent of this total paddy weight is made up of rice husk, which is separated in the rice milling process and has traditionally been discarded by burning (including to generate electricity) or by dumping in landfill. But in recent times new uses have been found for this former waste. Goodyear Tire & Rubber, for example, has tested silica derived from rice husk ash over the past two years. The tyre maker has now reached a supply agreement with China’s Yihai Food and Oil Industry for silica derived from rice husk ash, and will begin manufacturing a tyre containing this silica at its Pulandian factory in China this year. The tyre will be sold in the Chinese domestic market.
Rice husk waste once headed for landfills is now helping The Goodyear Tyre & Rubber Company produce fuel-efficient tyres. Goodyear today announced it will utilise ash left over from the burning of rice husks to produce electricity as an environmentally friendly source of silica for use in its tyres.
From an ecological point of view, the new Pirelli Cinturato P7 offers three headline benefits – a CO2 emission reduction of up to 4 grams per kilometre driven, 30 per cent lower noise emissions and a 4 per cent fuel saving. Pirelli’s clincher (particularly aimed at current and potential OE customers) is that it is already in position to meet the targets set by the new EU regulations that are due to take effect from 2011 and that it does this without compromising on wet or dry performance. However, none of this explains how the company is able to achieve these goals.
In mid-February, Pirelli gave details of how its 2009 – 2011 industrial plan means the company will have an increasingly “green” focus. In particular Pirelli committed to developing a series of new materials that for use in tyre compounds. One particular silica rich material is rice husk ash (RHA). Pirelli is already (as far as the technological requirements are concerned) in a position to use this material in tyre production this year. However, the material is currently the subject of a large scale viability study focusing on the availability of the kind of tonnages needed for tyre industral scale tyre manufacturing. Tyres & Accessories understands that Pirelli already has research and development teams in place in Brazil and the areas surround Milan, which just happen to be some of the best rice production areas in the world.