Yokohama Rubber Co., Ltd. (YRC)—the seventh-largest tire manufacturer in the world—has developed a process that combines citrus oil with natural rubber to form a new compound it calls Super Nanopower Rubber (SNR). The major component of citrus oil is d-limonene.
The process reduces the use of petroleum products in tires by 80% and is part of YRC’s global EcoMotion environmental program. The first SNR product is the Decibel Super E-Spec, an all-new consumer passenger tire.
The fuel-saving E-Spec tire features an air permeation suppression film, a polymer lining designed to reduce air leakage from the tire, therby helping to maintain appropriate inflation levels.
Underinflated tires consume more power, thus using more fuel. The E-Spec is also a lot lighter and conserves gasoline by reducing rolling resistance by 18 percent. Low rolling resistance tires improve fuel efficiency by minimizing the energy wasted (as heat) as the tire rolls down the road.—Jim MacMaster, executive vice president, Business Division, of Yokohama Tire Corporation
The E-Spec tire featuring the SNR compound will be available in Japan later in the year, but no date has been determined for release in the US market.