Yokohama Tire Corporation’s BluEarth-1 – the company’s latest orange oil-infused passenger car tire – is the highlight of a two-year exhibit opening at the Boston Museum of Science as part of the “Making a Greener Tire” interactive display, which will be in the museum’s Transportation, Renewable Energy and Nanotechnology area.
The “Making a Greener Tire” interactive display revolves around the BluEarth-1’s technology, which combines oil extracted from orange peels with silica and natural rubber to form “Super Nano-Power Rubber” (SNPR). This technology was initially utilized in Yokohama’s innovative and groundbreaking dB Super E-spec™ tire.
The SNPR allows for less petroleum to be used in the manufacturing process and conserves fuel as it reduces rolling resistance by up to 20 percent – minimizing the energy wasted (as heat) as the tire rolls down the road. Yokohama is the first – and only – tire manufacturer in the world to employ orange oil technology.
Yokohama Rubber provided its new eco tire - the BluEarth-1 - to Team Meca Sport Passion, that participated in the 2011 Monte Carlo Rally for Alternative Energy Vehicles, part of the FIA Alternative Energies Cup. The team was sponsored by Toyota France, by a Toyota dealer of Gap (the capital of the Hautes-Alpes department) and by Yokohama Rubber through Yokohama France. Four Toyota hybrid cars were equipped with BluEarth-1 tires.
BluEarth-1 is the flagship model of Yokohama Rubber’s BluEarth series based on an environmentally, human and socially friendly concept. It delivers performance friendly to people, including a more comfortable, quieter ride and reduced tire noise outside the car, in addition to high levels of both environmental performance and safety.
The beauty of using orange peels is they are a readily renewable by-product of the making of orange juice. They no longer have to be discarded and instead can be put to use. Apparently, the peels would also be able to be used even if the oranges themselves are damaged by a freeze before harvest or other natural ailments.
Why is a renewable source important to the production of tires? Since 1844, when vulcanized rubber was invented, tires have been manufactured using mostly petroleum. Today, tires can use up to 7 gallons of petroleum in the form of synthetic rubber, polyester fabric and processing agents.
Also featured in the museum’s exhibit will be the BluEarth-1’s Airtex Advanced Liner that is designed to reduce the amount of air from seeping out from the tire. Maintaining appropriate inflation levels is crucial because under-inflated tires consume more power, thus using more fuel.
“The exhibit is extremely gratifying for Yokohama because it validates our commitment to technology that will protect Earth,” said Yasushi Tanaka, Yokohama president and CEO. “Yokohama is a technology-driven company with a global mandate to protect the environment. In fact, our new overall global environmental initiative is called ‘BluEarth,’ which includes the BluEarth-1 tire. BluEarth is our product engineering philosophy aimed at producing tires that are environmentally-, socially-, and human-friendly. That’s why we are honored the museum feels our eco-friendly orange oil technology is significant enough to be presented in an exhibit.”
According to Paul Fontaine, Vice President of Education at the Museum of Science, the BluEarth exhibit reflects the Museum’s commitment to highlighting environmental issues and enhancing technological literacy. “We are constantly working to expand the public’s understanding of new technologies through exhibits, programs, events and publications. This display is especially timely because it showcases an innovative, green approach to manufacturing. We welcome the opportunity to bring this cutting edge technology to our visitors.”