Yokohama Orange Oil Tire Technology Now on Display at the Museum of Science, Boston

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Exhibit spotlights BluEarth-1™, Yokohama’s orange oil-infused tire that reduces petroleum use in tire manufacturing

Yokohama Tire Corporation’s eco-tire technology is now officially on display at the Museum of Science, Boston. The two-year exhibit, which opened today, showcases Yokohama’s BluEarth-1™,  the company’s latest orange oil-infused passenger car tire, as well as the ultra-thin AIRTEX™ Advanced Liner, which helps consumers cut fuel costs by keeping their tires properly inflated.

“Yokohama is the first – and only – tire manufacturer in the world to employ orange oil technology,”said Yasushi Tanaka, Yokohama president and CEO. “It’s very rewarding to see it highlighted in a leading educational and cultural institution like the Museum of Science, Boston. The exhibit validates our commitment to advanced technologies that will protect earth.”

The Museum, founded in 1830, attracts about 1.5 million visitors a year via its programs and 700 interactive exhibits.

The “Making a Greener Tire” interactive display, in the museum’s Transportation, Renewable Energy and Nanotechnology area, utilizes tactile, visual and video elements to explain BluEarth-1’s technology, which combines oil extracted from orange peels with fine silica and a blend polymer to form a nano-blend compound. This BluEarth-first technology, initially utilized in Yokohama’s revolutionary dB Super E-spec™ tire, eliminates a significant amount of the petroleum-based products normally used in tire manufacturing.

Nano-blend compounding allows for less petroleum use during the manufacturing process and conserves fuel by reducing rolling resistance up to 20 percent – minimizing the energy wasted (as heat) as the tire rolls down the road.

Besides orange oil, BluEarth-1 features the AIRTEX™ Advanced Liner designed to reduce the amount of air seeping from the tire. Maintaining appropriate inflation levels is crucial because under-inflated tires require more power, thus using more fuel.

“Yokohama’s display is especially timely because it shows an innovative, green approach to manufacturing,”said Paul Fontaine, the Museum’s vice president of education. “We welcome the opportunity to bring this cutting-edge technology to our visitors. The BluEarth exhibit reflects the Museum’s commitment to highlighting environmental issues and enhancing technological literacy.”

“Technologies such as orange oil and the AIRTEX Advanced Inner Liner are part of Yokohama’s global mandate to protect the environment,”Tanaka said. “Our new overall global environmental initiative is called ‘BluEarth,’ which includes the BluEarth-1 tire. We thank the museum for presenting it to the public via this special exhibit.”

BluEarth-1, available now in Japan and Europe, will launch in the U.S. in  2012 in three sizes for hybrids and other vehicles, including the Toyota Prius, MINI Cooper, and VW Golf and Jetta.

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