Anup Jain, PPG vice president, specialty coatings and materials, said PPG’s collaboration with Bridgestone has the potential to significantly change the truck tire industry. “We are excited to partner with Bridgestone on this important project,” he said. “The DOE funding validates what our preliminary research already has shown – that Agilon performance silica has significant potential as a next-generation filler to help increase truck tire fuel efficiency.”
Improving the fuel efficiency of trucks and buses would provide significant economic and environmental benefits. According to DOE reports, heavy-duty vehicles comprise only 4 percent of all vehicles on U.S. roads but consume approximately 20 percent of all fuel. PPG estimates that if even 25 percent of all tractor-trailers on the road improved fuel efficiency by 4 percent, they would consume 750 million fewer gallons of diesel fuel annually, saving nearly $2 billion and reducing carbon-dioxide (CO2) emissions by nearly 8 million metric tons.
According to Kurt Danielson, president, Bridgestone Commercial Group, Bridgestone has a long-standing commitment to environmental sustainability. The company’s environmental mission is “to help ensure a healthy environment for current and future generations,” and as the world’s largest tire and rubber company, Danielson said Bridgestone believes it has a corporate responsibility to produce sustainable products in the most sustainable way. Using 2005 data as a baseline, the company’s midterm target is to achieve a 35 percent reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020.
“Our partnership with PPG was created for our customers,” Danielson said. “We are constantly working to deliver innovative solutions that not only align with our company’s environmental mission but will also carry cost saving benefits for our truck and bus radial tire customers.”
Jain added that Agilon performance silica is part of PPG’s global commitment to helping the transportation industry and its suppliers manufacture more sustainable products. “From coatings that contribute to lighter, more fuel-efficient and more corrosion-resistant vehicles, to paint systems that enable automakers to conserve water, we are dedicated to developing products such as Agilon performance silica that help protect the planet and help customers such as Bridgestone meet the safety, performance and value demands of car and truck owners around the world.”
Agilon performance silica is a high-value technology platform of chemically modified precipitated silica that can improve the performance of rubber products in which it is used. Testing indicates that the chemical modifications used to produce Agilon performance silica make the silica more compatible with the natural rubber typically used in truck and bus radial tire applications. This will allow the silica to better mix with the rubber, enabling better tire performance than is possible with conventional silicas.
PPG pioneered synthetic precipitated silica products, becoming one of the first manufacturers to bring them to the marketplace in the 1930s. Today, PPG’s silica products group is a global technology leader in the manufacture of precipitated silica products for use as reinforcing fillers in tire, industrial, footwear and silicone rubber applications; as microporous fillers in battery-separator applications; as flatting and thickening agents in coatings, adhesives and sealants; and as anti-caking, free-flow and carrier agents in food, feed and industrial applications. As part of PPG’s specialty coatings and materials business, the silica products group serves customers through a global network of manufacturing, research and technical-support facilities. For more information about PPG silica products, visit www.ppgsilica.com.