Microplastics Device Wins Dyson Award

Device captures tyre particulates using electrostatics and rubber friction.

A device that captures microplastics from everyday tyre wear has won the 2020 James Dyson award.

Students from the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London won the award for their device that addresses concern of microplastics. Following government interest in the problem of tyre littering, the Tyre Collective got to work on a concept. “We all know tyres wear down, but never consider where it all goes…” a statement on their website reads.

A promotional video for the design reveals the extent of environmental damage from car wear and tyre pollution, noting 2.08g and 336g of car and TFL bus tyre litter is shed every 24 hours.

The device is fitted to each wheel and uses electrostatics to collect tyre particle emissions. Whenever cars brake or turn, friction postively charges rubber fragments which the device catches using electrostatics.

“Tyre wear can account for up to 50% of PM2.5 & PM10 emissions from road transport and are the second-largest microplastic pollutant in our environment” says team member Hugo Richardson. “With the development of EVs, it is crucial to consider the implications of tyre wear, so we are not replacing one pollution source with another.”