The global market for green tires is forecast to reach $70.6 billion by 2017, according to Smithers Rapra in a new market report.
Green tires are tires optimised for low rolling resistance and/or which uses materials, especially elastomers, which are from renewable (sustainable) resources. Currently, the largest sector of the green tire market is for low rolling resistance tires, defined as “energy tires” in the report.
Based on extensive primary research and expert analysis, The Future of Green Tires to 2017 examines this fast-growing market with qualitative and quantitative market forecasts, showing key analysis, trends and drivers. This exclusive report breaks down market forecasts to 2017 by geographic region, with key focus on production and consumption trends. The study is based on an in-depth combination of primary and secondary data gathered during Smithers Rapra’s extensive research program for the global tire industry.
It is estimated that over 1.5 billion tires are currently produced each year, with a total value of about $160 billion. This is expected to rise to nearly $203 billion by 2017. The rapid increase of green issues including concerns for greenhouse gas emissions and availability of resources are the main drivers behind this growth, as green tires accounts for 35% of the total tire growth over the forecasted period 2012-2017.
According to Adam Page, report publisher: “This growing interest in sustainability in such a large industry is going to create both significant supplier opportunities and also threats to some existing products. The Future of Green Tires to 2017 is the world’s first study to quantify this market”.
While they contribute to the overall sustainability of a tire by improving its performance, fillers such as carbon black and precipitated silica are not yet sourced from sustainable resources and efforts to address this are in their infancy. Precipitated silica does have the advantage of being derived from a non-oil source and thus can be regarded as more sustainable than carbon black. Microcrystalline starch has been demonstrated to have some potential as a part, and ultimately full, replacement for the other fillers, but may not be regarded as totally sustainable.
Unlike low rolling resistance, many of the other sustainability improvements offer no apparent cost advantage to the consumer and often demand a premium. In these cases, sustainability is going to be very difficult to sell to the general tire purchaser. This is demonstrated by the fact that tires almost free of petroleum oil-based products are already available (e.g. Sumitomo’s Enasave 97 and Enasave 100). Currently they only have a very small niche market and while this is expected to grow significantly, even the most optimistic forecasts put them as remaining a high-end specialty product in 2020. As a result, full sustainability for tires is still a long way off. The time scales involved are indicated by Bridgestone, who see 2050 as the target year to reach total ‘cradle to grave’ sustainability.
The way vehicles are driven, the cost of fuel, the quality of road surfaces and the ambient weather conditions all affect the tires and vary significantly from one region to another. Because of these differences, the concept of sustainability and the approaches taken to improve it vary from sector to sector and, to a lesser extent, from region to region. Present day low rolling resistance technology is most advanced in automotive applications in Europe and Japan, less so in automotive applications in the US and Asia and in commercial vehicles generally.
The tread of a truck tire also makes significantly less contribution to rolling resistance than that of an automobile tire (approximately 30% of the total tire rolling resistance compared to 50%), while the casing is a more important source of rolling resistance for truck tires than for automobiles. These differences make the use of present silica/silane technology less cost-effective. The heavy truck market has long been recognised as a very important growth sector for the silica/silane energy tire technology.
The Future of Green Tires to 2017 is available for £3,950, and is discounted to £3,555 until 28 February 2013.
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About Smithers Rapra
Smithers Rapra is the global leader in rubber, plastics, polymer and composites testing, consulting services, and conferences, training, publications and market reports, focused mainly on the tire, industrial, transportation, consumer and medical industries. Smithers Rapra encompasses what was previously Smithers Rapra Technologies, established in the United Kingdom in 1919 and Smithers Scientific Services, established in the United States in 1925.
Source: Smithers Rapra, press release, 2013-02-13.