Nokian Tyres introduces a concept tyre made with 93% recycled or renewable materials
Nokian Joins the Green Race
The Nokian Tyres Green Step concept tyre is a sustainable innovation with its ambitious design consisting of 93 per cent of the materials either recycled or renewable. It moves the company even closer to its goal: by the year 2030, 50 per cent of all raw materials used in Nokian Tyres’ products will be recycled or renewable.
“Drivers are more and more interested in the sustainability of their tyres, and this creates demand for us to create tires for these standards. It also puts pressure on the industry to develop more eco-friendly materials, as well as for tire manufacturing technology to adapt to these materials. With a concept tire like the Green Step, we can push the limits. It’s a win-win for all, but especially for the environment,” says Development Manager Jouko Ilomäki from Nokian Tyres.
All rubber used in the Green Step concept tyre is natural, and renewable oils such as canola oil, are used. Almost all plasticiser, resin and processing aids are from renewable resources. In addition, natural rice husk ash silica works as a main filler for the tread and sidewall, and renewable cord fibre is used to make the tyre tougher.
“We learned new things with every innovation made for the concept tire. For example, one of the most demanding tasks was to replace the synthetic rubber completely with natural rubber, which we achieved in the end,” Ilomäki says.
Almost every component of the Green Step also includes some recycled materials. For example, the Carbon Black used in the rubber compounds was derived from end-of-life tyres, and the butyl used in the inner surface as well as the steel in the steel belts and bead wires in the structure are mainly recycled.
“We believe that using recycled rubber and especially recycled Carbon Black will be a future trend in tyre manufacturing: by the year 2030, we will have multiple new suppliers and more advanced technology. Also, the demand for raw materials with either recycled or renewed components will increase. We are very happy to be able to corporate so many recycled elements in the Green Step already,” Ilomäki says.
Natural rubber is an important material in all tyres because of its beneficial features. Alternative sources for natural rubber, such as the guayule plant, were also researched. Renewable oils are common in Nokian Tyres’ tyres, as Nokian Tyres stopped using high-aromatics in 2005.
“Even though the process of designing the Nokian Tyres Green Step started about a year ago, it is actually a result of decades of innovation and accumulated expertise on sustainable tyre design,” says Teemu Soini, Senior Manager, Materials Development from Nokian Tyres. “Many of the sustainable innovations found in the Green Step are already used in our tyres, and regular drivers have been able to benefit from them for years. We made new innovations during the process of designing the Green Step and they will be incorporated in the future tyres offered to consumers all around the globe. We wanted to explore the limits of our sustainable innovation capabilities and the result was the Green Step. It is a testament to our ambition and knowhow.”