Soybean BioIsoprene For Tires: Between Food, Money And Politics, Which One Do You Choose?

by Edward Xu

in transformer gadgets

BioIsoprene, is a new sugar-based compound that has the potential to replace some of the petroleum based isoprene adopted by the tire industry for making of tires the last few decades. A good news for those seeking new way to help reduce carbon footprint by using greener means of products in their daily lives.

Thanks to the amazing product of mother nature – soybean, automotive owners could now experience the new ‘Green’ Tire from Goodyear that built using less fossil fuels and more durability for the usage simply by involving the BioIsoprene compound as the synthetic rubber and soybean oil as a replacement for petroleum in tire as well as for longer lasting tire.

BioIsoprene compound itself has shown easier to mix or blend with silica that is being used in tire production, that suppose to help tire industries to manufacture tires using less power and create less greenhouse gases.


If you are a commodity trader, you must have noticed that soybean’s commodity prices have increased significantly in the last few months, some are due to extreme temperature changes that bring drought and flood in some part of countries growing soybean mainly for export, while not to our suprise that, it might, due to the announcement by Goodyear, a global brand for tire for the planning to purchase more soybean for their tire production.

We assume that it is all about zero sum game, where there is a winner, there will be a loser, a common phenomenon in trading industry,  where a winner trader always get their profit at the expense from those losing traders. This scenario might  also applicable to food industries, making a paranoia ‘assumption’ that soybean commodity for food industry becomes production’s raw material on tire industry, growing demand is likely to stimulate increase of pricing for corresponding commodity.

While in the extend to the above ‘assumption’, if price for food keep on increasing due to increasing demand in other sector of industry, especially without proper monitoring from government, do you think that hyper inflation for food would likely be the next possible scenario? This time it might only be soybean, what if other breakthrough in technology is possible for using other daily consumed food base commodities such as potatoes, rice or even oat? Is this a good sign for ‘green’ solution in the long run?


Do you think this ‘enigma’ of soybean base food shortage will be come a potential problem in the near future? With increasing alert of global warming indications spreading across the globe, drought, flood and extreme temperature changes, do you think would it be wise to let those giant industry leader to ‘acquire’ or ‘seize’ portion of food base products for the importance of their production?

Let’s hope that above assumptions are just some irrelevant worries or a ‘paranoia’ thinking that increase of soyabean commodity price would not affect increase of food prices for other developing or under-developed nations’ food prices as well.

U.S. soybean and soy product exports exceeded $21.5 billion in 2011. China was the largest customer for U.S. soybeans with purchases exceeding $10.4 billion. Mexico was the second largest market for U.S. soybeans with purchases of nearly $1.6 billion. Other significant buyers included Japan with purchases of $954 million and Indonesia with purchases of $859 million.

Canada was the largest customer for U.S. soybean meal at $375 million, Mexico was second with $369 million, followed by Venezuela at $260 million. Morocco was the largest customer for U.S. soybean oil with purchases of $336 million, Mexico was second with purchases of $194 million, and China was third at $129 million.

                                                                                                                  — Soy Stats 2012

While soybean is capable to replace petroleum based oil by up to seven million gallons or approximately 26.5 million liters in annual tires production, will the nominal value of this invention equivalent to the intrinsic and social value of this so called ‘green’ discovery?

Anyway, the prototype version of Goodyear’s tires that built using the soybean oil and BioIsoprene compound will be tested in Texas within the next few months, real commercial tires will only available for purchase by 2015.

Update: Thanks for prompt and constructive respond by Kerry from Goodyear’s Tire and Rubber, it is our mistake for mixing up the idea between Soybean and BioIsoprene as an integrated matter, as each one is done in separate researches and testings. BioIsoprene is meant for synthetic rubber, replacing natural rubber, while soybean research is to meant for replacing petroleum oil as well as increasing the tire durability up to 10 percent.

[ Source: SoyStats ;  Goodyear ; Metrotvnews ; Detik ]

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Kerry Christopher

The use of soybean oil in tires, and the development of BioIsoprene are two unique projects within Goodyear.

First, with regard to BioIsoprene, Goodyear and DuPont Industrial Biosciences continue to work together to develop this revolutionary bio-based alternative for petroleum-derived isoprene. BioIsoprene can be used for the production of synthetic rubber—which in turn is an alternative for natural rubber—and other elastomers. The development of BioIsoprene will help further reduce the tire and rubber industry’s dependence on petroleum-derived products.

Separately, soybean oil is being tested by Goodyear researchers as a potential replacement for petroleum in tires. So far we have found that using soybean oil can potentially increase tread life by 10 percent and reduce the use of petroleum-based oil by up to seven million gallons each year.

One issue raised in the blog is related to use of soybean oil for purposes other than human consumption. It should be noted that whole soybeans are predominantly crushed for their meal, which comprises 80 percent of the bean and is used predominantly as a feedstock in animal agriculture. The approximate 20-percent remainder is mostly oil. Based on USDA research, increasing demand for soybean oil benefits livestock feeders through lower meal prices. While a variety of economic factors determine the final cost of food for consumers, changes in U.S. soybean prices have had little effect on domestic food prices.

Kerry Christopher
Communications, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company

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