UK firm launches new chemical fingerprint tyre database

HANNOVER: Did you know that tyres are polluting the environment just as internal combustion engines are?

Scientists say the microplastics they generate have become a far more serious threat to life globally than tailpipe emissions.

A tyre database created by British vehicle emissions testing company, Emissions Analytics, sets out to understand the problem and helped tyre makers come out with better products that are less damaging.

The database is the first major effort towards a comprehensive understanding of tyre composition affecting all matters, from tyre performance to environmental impact.

Non-exhaust emissions are of growing environmental concern with tyre emissions under significant scrutiny.

The EU-Commissioned research paper "Plastics in the Marine Environment" found that tyres were the leading single cause of marine microplastics, amounting to 270 million tonnes per annum.

The product of over two years of testing and evaluation, Emissions Analytics' EQUA Tyre is an innovative organic compound profiling and benchmarking database, containing test results and raw data from over 40 manufacturers and hundreds of different models of tyre.

Tyres are a complex mix of components and compounds.

To be able to separate and identify all the organic compounds, Emissions Analytics uses two-dimensional gas chromatography coupled with time-of-flight mass spectrometry to yield a unique and detailed chemical fingerprint for each tyre.

READ MORE: Tyre industry pushes back against evidence of plastic pollution

The test method is designed to simulate the leaching of organic compounds over time from tyres and their wear products.

EQUA Tyre joins the broader stable of EQUA databases, comprising EQUA Tailpipe and EQUA Cabin for over 2,500 vehicles.

Research results show that certain product formulations lead to environmental impacts three times higher than alternative formulations.

As a consequence, tyres not only vary significantly in wear rates, but also in chemical composition and environmental effects.

Emissions Analytics said the goal of EQUA Tyre is to bring transparency to an area that has historically been under-researched, and which is now in the spotlight as a result of ever-heavier vehicles and rapidly cleaning tailpipes.

This launch comes at an important time, as the European Union considers the potential new Euro 7 vehicle emissions regulation and whether to incorporate limits for non-exhaust emissions.

The purpose of the EQUA Tyre database is to furnish tyre OEMs and other suppliers, regulatory bodies and non-governmental interested parties with access to a comprehensive, independent assessment of tyre composition.

This potentially points to the best ways to drive reductions in environmental and health impact through incentives to develop improved products. It further offers the opportunity to understand the sources of microplastics being observed in air, water and soil samples.

Access to this unique database will be available on corporate subscription.

“Tyres are rapidly eclipsing the tailpipe as a major source of emissions from vehicles, but the nature of tyre wear is poorly understood," said Emissions Analytics’ founder and chief executive officer Nick Molden.

"The new EQUA Tyre database marks a milestone in measurement, and which can offer a foundation for developing solutions.”
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