Researchers at Imperial College London have created a device that could help remove up to 60% of potential airborne tyre particles.
The group of student researchers, called The Tyre Collective, have showcased a prototype device which attaches close to the wheel catching positively charged tyre particles as they wear off when driving.
The futuristic device positioned close to road level takes advantage of airflows and the ‘Magnus effect’ when the vehicle is in motion.
The harmful fragments of tyre are collected in a removable storage unit which can then be recycled and used in future tyre walls.
Whilst electric vehicles (EV) will of course lower the tailpipe emissions going forwards, many researchers and politicians are now focusing their attentions on the impact of particulate and plastic pollution caused by brake, tyres and road wear.
A report published in July 2019 by the Air Quality Expert Group (AQEG) called for urgent action to address the problem of tyres and brakes, which is predicted to account for 10 per cent of national emissions of PM2.5 by 2030.
Studies have shown EV’s are also generally heavier, due to the weight of the battery, than conventional internal combustion engine vehicles which in turn wears tyres at a faster rate. Researchers suggest that this could cause an increase in tyre wear emissions from 7 kilotonnes in 2015 to nearly 10 kilotonnes by 2030 in the UK.
Image credit: The Tyre Collective (Facebook)