We often hear about the importance of minimizing rolling resistance to preserve the environment. It’s true that the fuel saved will reduce the environmental impact of your trips, but did you know that it’s not the biggest contributor to pollution on your car? In fact, every time your vehicle accelerates, brakes or turns, the abrasion of rubber from the tires on the road throws thousands of micro-particles of plastic off the road. These particles quickly infiltrate waterways and are the second most common source of microplastics in our oceans.
Reuse, reduce and recycle… your rubber!
More and more manufacturers are already turning to solutions that, indirectly or directly, reduce the magnitude of this problem. Rubber that is more resistant or better adapted to the road surface is much less polluting than an inadequate tire, for example. However, this past February, a group of British students called The Tyre Collective presented an idea that could well revolutionize the automotive industry.
Taking the form of a small box surrounding the rear end of the tire, the device could reduce the pollution emanating from your tires to nearly zero. It promises to capture rubber particles with a magnetic field before they are dissipated into the atmosphere. Once accumulated on the copper slates, all you have to do is empty the device, collect the rubber and use it to create new products.
A concept… for the moment
Of course, this invention is very far from being put on the market and, for the moment, it is nothing more than a concept, but we must admit that it is ingenious! The Tyre Collective still has a lot of work to do before they have a realistic plan for a large-scale implementation of this product. Most notably, what will happen to the electromagnets when they encounter our Canadian winter roads? Is the process of separating the rubber as simple as the group suggests?
While it is difficult to answer these questions with the video presentation of the project, the cause is nonetheless a noble one. It’s hard not to support these students when you consider that our vehicle can be the source of more than half a kilogram of microparticles per year. And what about the trucks and buses that run all day long! Although the world is still a long way from seeing these collectors on a large scale, the concept is a beacon of hope for a greener future!