The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is providing funding to support a $1.25 million collaborative project between PPG and Bridgestone Americas to develop fuel-efficient truck and bus tires. This project focuses on improving the fuel efficiency of truck and bus radial tires using PPG’s agilon performance silica platform.
The project is meant to deliver prototype tires to the DOE that help trucks and buses achieve fuel-efficiency improvements of 4% to 6% while also maintaining or improving tear strength and tread wear. Research and development for the project will be completed at PPG’s Monroeville, Penn., facility.
According to DOE reports, heavy-duty vehicles comprise only 4% of all vehicles on U.S. roads but consume approximately 20% of all fuel. PPG estimates that if even 25% of all tractor-trailers on the road improved fuel efficiency by 4%, they would consume 750 million fewer gallons of diesel fuel annually, saving nearly $2 billion and reducing carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 8 million metric tons.
Agilon performance silica is chemically modified precipitated silica. PPG says that 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.