Technical Director

Goodyear Debuts Tyres Made From 70% Sustainable Material

Welcome to the February edition of Footprints where we report on some of the most interesting stories happening in the global energy and sustainability market!

As your guest editor, I’m excited to bring our readers three incredible stories from the world of sustainability. In this issue we’ll talk about how Goodyear have debuted a sustainable tyre, how Scotland have proposed green transport investment plans and how the North Sea is becoming a massive interconnector hub for Europe…

Sound interesting? Read more about the articles below!

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Goodyear Debuts Tyres Made From Seventy Percent Sustainable Material

The Goodyear Tyre & Rubber Company unveiled a demonstration tyre made with seventy percent sustainable-material content, including soy bean oil, rice husks and plastic recycled from old bottles.

As an industry that has traditionally relied on a range of high-impact raw materials and energy intensive production processes, this is an exciting achievement that demonstrates Goodyear’s commitment to sustainability.

The innovation sees the new tyres being produced with thirteen ingredients, all of which boast significant sustainability benefits compared to conventional tyres that have used less environmentally friendly methods. These ingredients include everything from carbon black captured via industrial processes to silica produced from rice husk ash, a by-product of rice processing that is often discarded and put into landfills!

Leading companies, such as Goodyear are racing to develop lower impact tyres and boost recycling rates across the sector.

These new tyre innovations are expected to result in reduced waste and significantly lower the sectors environmental footprint and impact.

For example, the carbon black included in tyres for compound reinforcement has traditionally been made by burning various types of petroleum products. Goodyear’s new tyre features three carbon blacks produced from methane, carbon dioxide and plant-based oil – with initial life cycle assessments demonstrating reduced carbon emissions compared with current methods of carbon black production.

Similarly, the use of soybean oil in the new tyres was described as a ‘significant innovation’ that helps keep a tyre’s rubber compound pliable in changing temperatures. Some environmental campaigners have raised concerns over the environmental impact of soaring global demand for soy, but Goodyear insisted that while nearly 100 percent of soy protein is used in food or animal feed applications, a significant surplus of oil is left over and available for use in industrial applications.

Green Transport Strategy Proposed in Scotland

The Scottish government have proposed a strategy that hopes to shift the priorities of transport spending towards greener, more sustainable projects.

Scottish ministers have come together and made upwards of 45 recommendations to guide the next 20 years of transport investment, with the goal of tackling climate emissions being at the heart of many of the proposals.

Cabinet secretary for Net-Zero, Energy and Scottish Transport, Michael Matheson has stated that “the investment decisions we make now have never been more important” especially as “a green recovery from COVID-19 will set us on a path to delivering a fair and just transition to net-zero”.

Some of the proposed ideas the strategy would want to explore over the next twenty years include:

  • Improved mass transit systems.
  • Creating a network of segregated freeways for cycling and walking.
  • Electrifying more rail routes.
  • Introducing a city-wide metro system in Glasgow.
  • Introducing more 20mph speed limit zones.

This new strategy represents how a repositioning of Scotland’s transport system, which in recent years has been skewed towards high-carbon road-building, can both help protect our climate and improve lives simultaneously.

Colin Howden, director of Transform Scotland has said that the strategies “focus on active travel, decarbonised public transport and new light rail in the cities is a welcome change” as the nation is in desperate need of change due to the chronic lack of investment over the last 15 years.

A spokesperson for Glasgow Airport has stated that the proposed strategies, specifically a newly improved transit system would “have a transformative effect in reducing carbon emissions, boosting public transport and alleviating congestion”.

Whilst this blueprint for change does not give timescales or funding commitments for its recommendations, it is most certainly a step in the right direction towards a greener, more sustainable Britain.

The North Sea: Europe's Next Renewable Energy Hub

Countries including the United Kingdom, Denmark, Norway and The Netherlands are developing plans to transform the long-time oil and gas hub of the North Sea into one of the world’s leading renewable energy generators and a ‘green powerhouse for electricity’.

How? Through a growing web of undersea electrical cables and interconnectors.

The longest and most powerful of these cables being the famous 450-mile long ‘North Sea Link’ which links a hydroelectric plant in Norway’s mountains to Blyth in Northumberland, England. Its purpose? Simple…  to balance the two nations’ power systems and take advantage of differences between them.

Britain wants to tap into Norway’s abundant hydropower, while the Norwegians will be able to benefit from surges of electricity from British wind farms that might otherwise be wasted. The rapid growth of renewable energy sources like wind and solar, whose output varies with the breeze and sunshine, makes such sharing increasingly essential as well as mutually beneficial.

These cables connecting one nation’s grid to another, known as interconnectors, allow Europe and other regions to operate like a much larger and more diverse power system that can use surpluses of electricity in one area to offset shortages in others.

The ability to share electric power, to import or export it as needed will be crucial to moving from fossil fuels to an energy mix that is more and more weather based.

In the coming decades, the effort to tackle climate change will require increasing demands for electricity. It is, and will remain cheaper and more efficient for European countries to lay cables to make use of each other’s particular energy strengths than to try to do it all on their own.

The pace of interconnection is particularly accelerating for Britain, where our ambitions to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 depend to a great extent on renewable energy sources such as these. Britain’s interconnector arsenal is growing rapidly and now has the capacity to provide nearly a quarter of average electricity demand.

Besides the cable to Norway, the British National Grid manages undersea links to France, Belgium and the Netherlands, with a £2 billion interconnector to Denmark well under construction.

P – Part L

Building Regulations Part L provides controls to conserve fuel and power – a part of building regulations which becomes tougher on a roughly 5 yearly cycle. These regulations also place control and thus costs on changes to existing buildings and how they are refitted.

W – Wholesale Energy Costs

This is the price that the energy providers pays to obtain electricity and gas for their customers. Most of the energy is purchased and secured in advance to avoid any price fluctuations in the wholesale price effecting customers costs.

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