Moss-covered recycled tyre combats air pollution on the go

One of the world's largest tyre companies has unveiled a new prototype for a recycled tyre that uses moss to clean the air as it drives, while also generating electricity to power added sensors and processing units.

Unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this week, the Oxygene prototype concept has been designed by Goodyear Tyres. The Oxygene concept uses living moss that grows within a wheel’s sidewall. The moss can the absorb and circulate moisture and water from road surfaces, causing photosynthesis to occur which releases oxygen into the air.

The Oxygene tyre also harvests the energy generated during photosynthesis to power embedded electronic devices, including onboard sensors and an artificial intelligence processing unit. The tyre concept also features a non-pneumatic construction that has been 3d-printed with rubber powder from recycled tyres.

“With more than two-thirds of the world population expected to live in cities by 2050, the demands on transport networks in urban environments will increase substantially,” Goodyear Tyres’ president Chris Delaney said.

“Smarter, greener infrastructure and transport will be crucial in addressing the most pressing challenges of urban mobility and development.”

Tyred and tested

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 80% of people that live in urban areas are exposed to air quality that exceeds legal limits. London is no exception, breaching annual limits in January for consecutive years.

According to Goodyear Tyres, a city the size of Paris with 2.5 million travelling vehicles could create almost 3,000 tonnes of oxygen, while absorbing more than 4,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. The company has two innovation centres in Ohio and Luxembourg to attempt to commercialise the concept.

Last year, car manufacturer General Motors made an industry-pioneering commitment to source sustainable natural rubber in its tyres, in a bid to help drive net-zero deforestation in the sector. The company claimed it would work with suppliers, including Goodyear Tyres, to make inroads into the commitment.

The Oxygene concept also uses a visible light communications system, or LiFi, to enable mobile connectivity “at the speed of light”. The LiFi can connect to IoT devices, allowing for vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure data exchanges – a key feature of the smart cities vision.

Check out edie’s full round-up of the Geneva Motor Show, featuring innovations from the likes of Nissan and Volkswagen.

Matt Mace

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