Nanotechnology could help sustainable tyres

Report highlights potential of new materials

Published:  07 August, 2014

New nanomaterials could beg developed that would make for a sustainable tyre industry as well as helping to reduce the environmental impact of vehicles.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) report Nanotechnology and Tyres: Greening Industry and Transport, highlights the potential of new nanomaterials while analysing the challenges for their safe and sustainable introduction in the tyre industry.

These materials offer new avenues for future innovation, which have the potential to decrease rolling road resistance and lower wear resistance, increasing fuel efficiency and tyre lifetime, while also maintaining strong levels of grip that current materials offer.

The report calls for policy action to support research and the commercialisation of nanotechnology research results for fostering responsible innovation in the tyre sector. Finally, it emphasises the importance of collaboration between governments and industry to address the specific challenges raised by the introduction of new nanomaterials in different industry sectors.

There is however, a period of study required into the health and safety and environmental impact of developing nanomaterials for tyres. A framework will be needed for research and development, which will need to be well funded. The report calls for cooperation of governments and the tyre industry to help this happen.

While further research is needed, the report offers the tyre industry an insight into a sustainable future while helping vehicle manufacturers to meet strict environmental targets set by governments. For the independent aftermarket it also offers another product for the customer with better selling points.

Philippe Fonta, Managing Director of the World Business Council Sustainable Development's Tyre Industry Project comments: "Having such a respectful institution as the OECD, concluding a two-year multi-partite project by, on the one hand, highlighting the potential of new nanomaterials on the sustainability of the tyre industry and on the other hand, providing a guidance for risk assessment for the use of nanotechnology in our sector, is a great achievement that we welcome. It sets the basis for the safe and responsible introduction of these promising technologies while taking full consideration of their socio-economic and environmental impacts".

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