Tue June 18 02:05 pm 2019 in category Company news
Nokian Tyres rises to climate-change challenges by reducing the environmental effects of its products
Nokian Tyres is reducing greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the rolling resistance of its tires and cutting energy emissions from their manufacture. This socially responsible company wants to be at the forefront of combating climate change and its effects, through intervention at every stage of a tire’s lifecycle.
- We manufacture tires for different markets at our factories in Finland, Russia, and from next year, in Dayton in the United States. Our company will continue to focus on actively seeking ways and models for taking a more sustainable approach throughout a tire’s lifecycle, from the materials stage to reusing tire waste. Sustainability includes combatting climate change and ensuring decent conditions for the workers manufacturing tire materials, says Teppo Huovila, who is responsible for sustainability at Nokian Tyres.
Nokian Tyres has been actively reducing the CO2 emissions of its factories by switching to lower-emission energy sources, and making manufacturing processes and production facilities more energy efficient.
- We have been able to reduce the CO2 emissions from the manufacture of a tire by 38 percent in five years, Teppo Huovila explains.
In early October, the highly automated, state-of-the-art production lines at the Dayton plant will make it one of the most modern tire factories in the world – including with respect to environmentally friendly production.
New raw materials and a better deal for farmers
With the EU listing natural rubber as a critical material, Nokian Tyres is actively seeking a replacement material. Near the Santa Cruz de la Zarza testing center in Spain, the company is participating in a project of farming guayule and – alongside the local university and farmers – is researching its use as a replacement for natural rubber.
- Guayule, which can thrive in harsh conditions, is a completely new plant for local farmers, but it could be a replacement for relatively unprofitable crops. The plant also has broader benefits: it could increase the amount of biomass used in industry and create parallel industries, states Jukka Kasi, SVP, Products & Technologies for Nokian Tyres.
Old tires recycled whenever possible
In the Nordic countries, tires are over 99 percent sure to be recycled. This has been encouraged by including a recycling fee in the price of tires. Recycled tires have two main uses: cut and ground tires are used in civil engineering, whereas the tire materials are used for energy in facilities such as cement factories.
- Tire recycling is well organized in most European countries, but is just getting started in Russia. We are involved in the Russian scene, for example by promoting the emptying of illegal tire dumps, Teppo Huovila explains.
Low tire rolling resistance reduces fuel use and emissions
By choosing their tires wisely, drivers can reduce the CO2 emissions generated while driving.
- We want to help drivers reduce their fuel use and CO2 emissions through tire choices. When the tire pressure is right, low rolling resistance tires can help drivers save over 0.5 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers. Of course, this also reduces CO2 emissions. An economic driving style can reduce emissions by even more, says Jukka Kasi.
Aiming for even larger reductions in CO2 emissions from traffic
Nokian Tyres aims to reduce the rolling resistance of each new generation of tires. In 2015, the company set itself the goal of reducing CO2 emissions from traffic to 500 million kilograms by 2020.
- We have reached this goal and are continuing our work. In the EU, we mainly manufacture top-line Energy Class A and B tires. Last year, up to 91 percent of the tires sold had low rolling resistance, which reduces fuel use, says Kasi.
Safety and sustainability as the basis of product development
As part of its environmental awareness, Nokian Tyres also focuses in sustainable safety: adding features that increase tire safety, such as tire grip on wet surfaces, durability, and rolling resistance. These features must stay almost unchanged with time and use.
- The product development arc runs from the design table to year-round testing in laboratories and in authentic, demanding environments such as the testing center in Ivalo. Next year, we will also open a new testing center in Spain. We direct over half of our product development investments towards product testing, comments Jukka Kasi.
During product development, it is important to collaborate with car manufacturers in order to account for possible new requirements, such as those of electric cars. The aim is fast product selection updates and updates that also fulfil the special needs of electric cars.
- Depending on the tire type and intended use, it can take years to develop a completely new car tire that is safe in all environments. Since new products account for around a quarter of our yearly turnover, they play a key role in the achievement of our growth targets, Kasi emphasizes.
Greenhouse gas emissions during a tire’s lifecycle:
Most, or approximately 89 percent, of a tire’s lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions are created during its use. Around 15-20 percent of a car’s fuel consumption and emissions are created by the tire’s rolling resistance. Rolling resistance therefore has a notable effect on emissions.
Most emissions from tire manufacture and materials are due to energy use:
• 8 percent of a tire’s lifecycle emissions are created by the manufacture and transportation of materials
• 2 percent of a tire’s lifecycle emissions are created by their manufacture, storage, and transportation
• Only around 0.1 percent are created by the recycling of used tires.
Teppo Huovila, Vice President, Quality & Sustainability, Nokian Tyres, tel. +358 10 401 770, [email protected]
Jukka Kasi, SVP, Products & Technologies, Nokian Tyres, tel. +358 10 401 7747, [email protected]