Electric car: the new device is a “catalytic converter” for tire wear to combat pollution from electric vehicles

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Tire wear is the second most important microplastic pollutant in the environment, after single-use plastic, and accounts for up to 50% of airborne particulate emissions from road transport. As the world adopts electric vehicles, pollution from tire wear is expected to increase, due to the added weight and torque of these vehicles’ battery.

The Tire Collective was launched to mitigate tire wear emissions to the environment, which could be made worse by the transition to electric vehicles.

The company recently received funding from Innovate UK’s Sustainable Innovation Fund to develop an on-board device to capture tire wear at source to reduce road transport pollution.

The device – a world first, developed in consultation with the Imperial Aeronautics Department – currently captures 60% of all airborne particles in tests.

Once captured, these particles can be recycled or reused in new tires and other materials.

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“We really saw this as an opportunity to raise awareness about tire wear, but we saw this as an opportunity to innovate and for us to provide a solution to this problem.

“When you think of pollution from vehicles, at the moment it’s a lot about the exhaust, people think of the smoke coming out of the tailpipe.

“But that’s only half the problem, there’s a whole other issue with brake and tire wear. This would be the next big source of pollution we need to tackle to create a true zero-emission vehicle.

“More tire particles are expected to be produced in electric vehicles than in internal combustion cars, trucks and vans.”

Hanson, alongside fellow co-founders Hugo, Siobhan and Deepak, started the project as part of their Masters in Innovation Design Engineering at Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art.

Last summer they completed their first in-vehicle trial with results expected to be released soon and will be conducting a pilot trial in fleet vehicles later this year.

Funding from Innovate UK’s Sustainable Innovation Fund helped The Tire Collective continue development of the device after the team exited Imperial.

It is hoped that they will be able to move the project to the next phase, which will allow them to continue developing the technology.

Mr. Cheng went on to say, “We are developing a retrofit device targeting aftermarket electric vehicles that would sit right behind the wheel, especially on vans.

“Anything with a losing wheel is in our market. The long-term vision is to integrate this device into all future electric vehicles, whether cars, trucks or buses.

“It’s the catalytic converter for tire wear. Because we are entering an exciting time in mobility, why not tackle both current issues and create a truly zero emissions vehicle.

The device is positioned near where the tire meets the road, with The Tire Collective identifying this position to take advantage of the airflow around a spinning wheel.

Based on research, the device currently captures 60% of all airborne particles on their test bench.

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