Comparative tests typically evaluate the way tyres perform day-to-day, and the wider environmental impact of tyre use doesn’t get much of a look-in. German motoring association ADAC is rectifying this by examining tyres’ contribution to the problem of microplastic emissions. It looked at almost 100 products in total.
The U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) intends to produce cryogenically milled tyre tread (CMTT) and provide samples to researchers in order to advance scientific study on tyre and road wear particles (TRWP). Representatives from the industry have presented information about this initiative at the 42nd Annual Meeting of the Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) North America, a virtual meeting that’s taken place between 14 and 18 November.
Together with the University of Southern Denmark (SDU) and the École Normale Supérieure de Lyon in France, tyre maker Continental has received a grant worth 43 million core hours of supercomputer time. This grant comes through a Partnership for Advanced Computing in Europe (PRACE) initiative and will speed up and expand the partners’ research into the decomposition of rubber polymers, a key aspect of the joint research they’ve conducted on tyre and road wear particles since 2014.
The Audi Environmental Foundation is working with the Technical University of Berlin (TU Berlin) and others to develop filters for urban runoff. The goal of these filters is to prevent tyre wear particles and other environmentally harmful substances from being washed into sewers and then flowing into creeks and rivers.
An independent advisory committee to the UK Department of Health has found no compelling evidence that exposure to tyre and road wear particles poses a health risk at current UK concentrations. Based on a review of present scientific knowledge, the updated position statement recently published by the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants (COMEAP) extends to all non-exhaust particles from road transport, including brake wear and road surface particulates.
The Tyre Collective – winners of the James Dyson Awards 2020 – have designed a device to capture tyre particulate at source. According to the UK Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs’ “Air Quality: Brake, Tyre and Road Surface Wear” report, tyre-wear accounts for nearly half of road transport particulate emissions. Furthermore, a reported half a million tonnes of tyre particles are produced annually in Europe alone, from vehicles accelerating, braking and cornering. As we move towards electric vehicles in the future, exhaust emissions will reduce but tyre particles will continue. The Tyre Collective estimate that tyre emissions may even increase, as electric vehicles become heavier due to the added battery weight. For both reasons, this year’s UK national James Dyson Award winners attempt to address this issue.
Studies show the tyre/road abrasion caused by vehicles in motion contributes to microplastic and fine dust pollution, making this an issue our industry will increasingly have to consider in future. ZF Test Systems believes its new unit for testing tyre abrasion will enable tyre manufacturers to optimise their development programmes and offer cleaner tyres.
One effect of regulatory-driven decreases in vehicle emissions is that other kinds of pollution become comparatively higher. The contribution of tyres to overall transportation pollution has been scrutinised on a number of occasions, and opinions on the matter vary. Emissions Analytics now brings the issue of tyre pollution back to the table, flagging up that they’re much more polluting than car exhausts.
Particulate and plastic pollution from brakes, tyres and road wear are in the spotlight again. The Air Quality Expert Group (AQEG) released a new report today that highlights the impact of this pollution, and the UK Government reports that Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey and Transport Minister Michael Ellis are “leading a push” to tackle its impact. The aim is for the introduction of an international standard that covers tyre and brake wear.
According to a new report undertaken by Eunomia Research and Consulting for Friends of the Earth, up to 19,000 tonnes of microplastic pollution could be entering UK waterways every year from vehicle tyres. The report, titled Reducing Household Contributions to Marine Plastic Pollution, listed tyres in its ‘top ten’ list of items of concern, commenting that interventions and innovation, as well as governmental, business and scientific collaboration, may be required over the coming five years to solve the issue.