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Device to curb microplastic emissions wins James Dyson award
A device that captures microplastic particles from tyres as they are emitted – and could help reduce the devastating pollution they cause – has won its designers a James Dyson award.
The Tyre Collective, a group of masters students from Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art, scooped the UK prize of the international competition with their solution for the growing environmental scourge of tyre wear caused by road transport.
Every time a vehicle brakes, accelerates or turns a corner, the tyres wear down through friction and tiny particles become airborne. This produces 500,000 tonnes of tyre particles annually in Europe alone. Globally, it is estimated tyre wear accounts for nearly half of road transport particulate emissions. It is also the second-largest microplastic pollutant in the oceans after single-use plastic.
The winning device is fitted to the wheel and uses electrostatics to collect particles as they are emitted from the tyres, taking advantage of air flows around a spinning wheel. The prototype, which the designers said is a world-first, collected 60% of all airborne particles from tyres under a controlled environment on a test rig.
Siobhan Anderson, Hanson Cheng, M Deepak Mallya, and Hugo Richardson – graduates of the Innovation Design Engineering MA/MSc programme jointly run by the two colleges – said they share a passion for the environment and using design to make a meaningful impact on society.