While microplastic pollution from tyres remains a significant ocean pollutant, the engineers offer new ways to tear that vicious circle. The tyre-mounted device by The Tyre Collective helps reduce airborne pollutants and the amount of plastic that ends up in the ocean, Springwise reports.
Microplastic pollution from tyres is a mega problem, the experts say. It is increasing in volume as electric vehicles (EV) become more popular. The engineers from The Tyre Collective have created the electrostatic collection device sits behind a tyre close to the road.
In particular, such kind of pollution becomes a problem because the weight of the batteries in EVs causes more wear and tear on tyres. The end result is fewer exhaust fumes, and more microplastics, which can become airborne and thus present no less of a danger to human and environmental health than the emissions from gas-powered vehicles.
According to the lab tests, the device currently collects 60 per cent of all airborne particles. That’s an impressive result, taking into account that modern vehicles becoming more environmentally friendly. For instance, using sustainable bioplastics made from food waste in car parts and a rooftop cargo box with an integrated solar panel is a new reality.
For inventors, it was important to create a closed-loop recycling system. That is why the design makes emptying the device and separating different sized particles quick and easy to do. Some particles are suitable for reuse in new tyres, while others are usable in objects as disparate as ink and soundproofing and 3D printing materials.
The Tyre Collective is an interdisciplinary team of engineers and designers studying at Imperial College and the Royal College of Art in London. The project is currently receiving support from InnovationRCA, and finding other commercial partners is a focus for the next stage of development of this project.