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October 5, 2000
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Goodyear and Sandia Labs team to cut petrochemical industry energy costs

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Goodyear Chemical and the Department of Energy’s Sandia National Laboratories will jointly explore new and more energy efficient processes that could dramatically reduce U.S. petrochemical industry dependence on foreign oil.

Under an agreement signed here today, Goodyear Chemical and Sandia researchers will share expertise to analyze chemical process technologies that may reduce energy consumption, waste generation and environmental emissions.

“Energy costs continue to escalate at our production facilities,” said Dr. Jonathan Rich, Goodyear Chemical’s Director of Research and Development. “Successful results of this project could help Goodyear and ultimately the U.S. petrochemical industry in the global marketplace by lowering operating costs, while protecting the environment.”

Rich said processes at Goodyear’s Beaumont, Tex., solution polymer plant, which began full-scale operations this week, will be targeted by the research. The plant uses petrochemicals to produce synthetic rubber and specialty polymers for tires and engineered products.

Developments from the initiative could then be made available to the entire U.S. chemical industry, said Rich.

He said Goodyear research and development personnel will provide engineering and economic modeling studies based on the company’s newest plant operations. Sandia will use advanced computer-aided design and engineering to test fabricated material recovery devices and quantify results.

For three years, Sandia’s ASCI Red computer system has been considered one of the world's fastest supercomputers.

The agreement is the sixth Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) between Goodyear and Sandia since 1993 and the first for the company’s chemical business.

The technologies being evaluated may also be useful in raw material recovery and transportation processes, said Rich.

Al Romig, Sandia Vice President for Science, Technology, and Components, said Sandia’s past R&D projects with Goodyear have been very beneficial to the laboratory, Goodyear and the Department of Energy.

“CRADAs nurture cooperation between government labs and private U.S. businesses,” said Romig. “Collaboration on emerging technologies can fpro results that benefit our laboratories and raise manufacturing standards for U.S. industries as we address national concerns such as energy consumption.”

The most recent Sandia/Goodyear CRADA was established in 1997, when the two teamed for an R&D effort aimed at developing improved analysis techniques in tire mechanics, materials and manufacturing. The result of that work and some of the previous CRADAs, Goodyear sources have said, is a shortening of product development time that has allowed the company to bring new, more reliable, longer-lasting, and safer products to market faster than was previously possible.

Other past Sandia/Goodyear efforts have involved developing and validating tools for finite-element analysis — a computer modeling technique for predicting thermal and mechanical responses of structures. These tools then have been used to simulate and predict manufacturing elements such as shaping and curing processes, and tire performance and safety characteristics such as rolling resistance and hydroplaning.

Bill Alzheimer, Director of Sandia’s Energy Components & Metrology Center, says the Sandia/Goodyear collaborations are “definitely a case of dual benefits for the government and industry.”

Goodyear Chemical, a division of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company based in Akron, Ohio, makes synthetic rubber and specialty polymers at two plants in Beaumont and one in Houston.

Other Sandia/Goodyear material is available at: http://www.sandia.gov/media/5gdyrsnl.htm and http://www.sandia.gov/media/gudyear.htm

Sandia is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin Company, for the United States Department of Energy under contract DE-AC04-94AL85000. With main facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major research and development responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.

Media contacts:
Rod Geer, wrgeer@sandia.gov, (505) 844-6601
Skip Scherer, wkscherer@goodyear.com, (330) 796-1054
Dave Russ, dwruss@goodyear.com, (330) 796-2572

Technical contacts:
Al Romig, adromig@sandia.gov, (505) 844-8358
Bill Alzheimer, wealzhe@sandia.gov, (505) 844-8035

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