By Trey Granger on Jul 9, 2009

New Tires Made of Oil from Orange Peels


Tire manufacturer Yokohama is now selling a model made with 80 percent non-petroleum material, substituting orange oil as the primary ingredient to make vulcanized rubber.

The new tire is called the Super E-spec™ and has already received the Popular Mechanics Editor’s Choice Award in 2008. Yokohama will initially market the tire for hybrid car models such as the Toyota Prius.

“The eco-focused dB Super E-spec mixes sustainable orange oil and natural rubber to drastically cut the use of petroleum, without compromising performance,” Yokohama vice president of sales Dan King said. “It also helps consumers save money at the gas pump by improving fuel efficiency via a 20-percent reduction in rolling resistance.”

Orange oil is considered sustainable because it is produced from a renewable resource. The same philosophy of reducing petroleum use is utilized in producing plastics from corn starch or vegetable oil.

Yokohama has yet to release the environmental impact of disposing these tires, which typically provides an environmental concern. The petroleum in traditional tires can burn for months in a landfill and is difficult to extinguish. These fires also release black smoke and toxins into the air. Yokohama has not specified whether the orange oil will biodegrade over time.

The process for recycling tires involves devulcanizing the rubber, which would essentially remove the oil and extract natural rubber. Because this is an expensive process, used tires are often shredded and turned into playground surfacing or additives for the soil in sports turf. It can also be reused as artwork.


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      1. Bad Ideas Abound! says

        Now that my tires will be made from a food-source, you can expect the cost of oranges and orange juice to skyrocket!

        If this catches on, the mega-farms will devote their land to raising genetically-modified high-oil-yeilding oranges to sell to manufacturers at the expense of raising edible oranges for human dietary consumption. If you think it won’t happen, think again–it already happens with corn and other crops.

        Humans can now compete with the auto-industry for food; as we already compete for food with the oil companies that purchase corn for ethanol production.

        I guess that means the poor go hungry while the rich afford orange-oil tires for their corn-burning cars. Maybe we should make caviar-oil tires. How about using an oil source we don’t eat—algae-oil tires?

      2. JAG says

        It would be great to see this process used in making BICYCLE tires too! Here, where a 1/2 HP driving force can use every bit of efficiency possible, would be a great boon to riding ease.

      3. dingdong says

        Orange oil comes from the peel and not the edible portion of the fruit. It’s a by-product of the orange juice industry and is the source of the orange smell in “natural” degreasers. Its been used as an industrial chemical source for years.

        Sorry “bad ideas abound”, we can all hold out for the caviar oil tires though.

      4. Kathy says

        Cool! thanks for the information. Maybe instead of disposing of petroleum based tires as playgrounds for kids with all the toxins they contain and that heat up to unsafe temperatures, they’ll actuallly recycle tires back into tires! cradle to cradle recycling is always best.

      5. RE: Bad Ideas Abound says

        “Now that my tires will be made from a food-source, you can expect the cost of oranges and orange juice to skyrocket!”

        So getting oil from the leftover peels is going to make orange juice prices skyrocket? That is like saying that makers of biodiesel will make grease prices go up because they recycle the leftover restaurant waste. You may want to rename your post to “Stupidity Abounds”. The irony would be perfect.

      6. says

        Wow, this is just absolutely amazing! Who would ever have thought there would be tires made from the Oils from an orange peel. This is an excellent way to preserve some of our more important natural resources.

      7. Ben says

        I hope the prices of oranges don’t increase if these are as good as they say. Also I hope the tread does not ‘peal off’ !.Wonder if other oils could be used such as olive oil.Maybe not, just a thought.

      8. garrett says

        Wow thanks telling everybody that orange oil comes from the orange peel. I feel so much better that most of the orange will be wasted to harvest the precious peel for a stupid Prius. Or wait maybe we will buy oranges without peels in the market. Or even better!! Freshly squeezed and vulcanized orange juice!!! Awesome Doug, Way To Go!!!!

      9. Mike says

        I’d like to see some numbers on
        – how much collecting, storing, transporting, etc. costs to recycle the orange peels, all the way from the end user to the factory that extracts the oil, per pound of orange peels.
        – how many pounds of oranges peels would be needed from to make even 10% of the tires used in the world.
        – how many cars there will be if China, India, etc. keep buying cars at the current rates for the next two years.
        Where are the numbers???? Where’s the beef?

      10. Iggy Dalrymple says

        Except for deranged tree-huggers, I see no advantage to switching from petroleum to orange peel oil. I believe that orange peel oil is already used in health supplements and cleaning compounds. Why can’t the greenies just stay home and suck their thumbs?

      11. Think first says

        If the orange oil comes from a waste byproduct in the production of orange juice, what is the fuss? No one eats those peels. The orange oil replaces much of the petroleum used for tires. The peels are easy to process (minimal energy input) or else orange oil would not already be a commodity. There is no need to find “the beef”, this new product is going to be beneficial to the environment.

      12. Jerry Dillard says

        If we can make tires with reduced petroleum can we make plastic water bottles by addinig orange oil with petrolium since we use 17 million barrels of oil per year to produce 50 billion plastic bottles for water…

        Environmental impact from using plastic water bottles…
        Emissions from oil and plastic bottle waste…

      13. symbiotic planet says

        To all you petroleum junkies, the protective layer surrounding the fruit called an orange, the part that is usually discarded, is the part of the fruit that will be used to produce the oil as part of the process in making these tires. Try using that lump on your shoulders for more than holding your hat!


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