Invention captures harmful car tyre dust, wins UK award

A group of students in Britain have invented a way of capturing tyre dust – a major contributor to air and water pollution – as a car drives along, winning them 2020‘s James Dyson Award in the UK.

People dine under a canopy at a restaurant which is designed to keep different groups of diners separated and safe following the government‘s COVID-19 guidelines in London, Britainon Saturday. Photo: Xinhua

Tiny particles of rubber from tires are responsible for nearly half of road transport particulate emissions, according to the UK government, and they are the second largest source of microplastic pollutant in oceans after single-use plastic.

“Everyone focuses on air pollution being directly from the engines themselves and coming out of the exhaust pipe,” Hugo Richardson, one of four members of The Tyre Collective, told Reuters in London.

“But what people don‘t necessarily recognize is that tire wear is a huge contributor to that, and that‘s partly down to its microscopic size and the fact that you don‘t obviously see it all the time.”

The award-winning solution was to capture tire particles at source by fitting a device that wraps closely around the edge of the tire and using electrostatics and the aerodynamics of a spinning wheel to collect particles as they are emitted.

Richardson said the coronavirus lockdown, which reduced traffic significantly, had given people a glimpse of how clean a city‘s air could be. 

The prototype can collect 60 percent of all airborne particles.

Newspaper headline: UK invention draws harmful car tire dust


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