As the automotive industry really begins to turn its attention to limiting and eliminating polluting exhaust emissions, new research presents a new challenge: tire particle pollution. Tires themselves do not produce emissions, but as tires wear out, the dust and particles they shed produce unhealthy non-exhaust emissions. It’s not good for the earth or our lungs. Tyre Collective recently unveiled its future tire concept, which is designed to absorb these contaminants when the tires are rolling.
The organisers of the James Dyson Design Awards announced their winners in the UK this week, with the innovative thinker winning one of the honours for his device, which removes 60 per cent of tyre pollution while the car is rolling. The device’s name is not yet known, but essentially it is like an air filter that captures non-emissions before they enter the atmosphere. According to Tyre Collective, when the tires roll, the filter sucks away the particles, which manufacturers can even use to make new tires.
A previous study showed that a typical European hatchback produces about 4.5 grams of particulate pollution for every kilometer it travels. And the heavier the vehicle, the worse the result. As Tyre Collective explains, this is because particles are released by positively charged friction. What kind of car will make a lot more things than usual? Electric vehicle. The battery pack is very heavy. Although electric vehicles are beginning to address emissions, they have created a new (albeit much smaller) pollution problem in terms of non-emissions.
Tyre Collective imagines the device connected to the steering section and running on the power of the vehicle’s alternator, which uses the rotating air flow of the tires to keep it clean. And the team says the solution is much more effective than HEPA filters elsewhere because it captures contaminants at the source. This is indeed a novel idea for invisible pollution. Not only do these particles float in the air, they end up in water and even into the food supply.
What’s next? The Tyre Collective said it was working with two major tire manufacturers and a major car manufacturer to create a joint development process. The goal is to develop a number of small production units to be tested on vehicles of unresoled carmakers by 2030 to test them.