Tire wear is a major contributor to polluting microplastics — small particles that are not biodegradable and tend to accumulate in the environment, leaching harmful toxins into the air and our waterways. And although there is no relevant EU regulations yeta London-based startup has developed a device that can capture these particles.
The band collective started as a master project of three former students of Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art, who founded the startup in 2020. It claims to have developed the very first device that records tire contamination.
The team found that tire particles are charged by friction with the road. Based on that, it developed its patent-pending technology that uses electrostatics and airflow to attract up to 60% of these particles. Once captured, they can be upcycled as a micronized rubber in a variety of applications, such as 3D printing, shoe soles and sound insulation, creating a closed system.
Buy your tickets for TNW Valencia in March!
The heart of technology comes to the heart of the Mediterranean
In partnership with the London-based logistics company Zhero, the cleantech startup completed its first pilot in November 2022. The TC02 prototype was able to capture tire wear from particles between 0.3 and 100 microns in size. More than half were smaller than 10 microns, which is considered to be the most dangerous to human health and the environment.
In the first phase, the Tire Collective will focus on logistics fleets, aiming to start with delivery and maintenance vans before moving on to buses and trucks. The device is planned to be scaled to all vehicle segments in the future, with a special focus on EVs. It is also looking for partners to conduct larger pilots and OEMs interested in integrating the technology.
While reducing pollution from tire wear is an integral step towards zero-emission mobility, it has not received the attention it deserves until now. This means it is a suitable space for cleantech startups looking to improve the sustainability of a vehicle’s lifecycle.