Audi tests filter to prevent rubber particles from tyres damaging environment
Audi is testing a filtration system that is claimed to help prevent some rubber particles from tyres damaging the environment. The German luxury car brand has said that it has joined hands with the Technical University of Berlin to develop a new filter concept for the urban roads that will attempt to trap microplastics at the street level at the drain level and at the sewer level, in order to catch them before they damage the ecosystem.
The automaker has been working on the project since 2020. It claims that in the lab environment, this filtration system has been able to trap not just tyre emissions but various forms of microplastics.
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Christened as Urbanfilter, Audi aims to make the filtration system work for a year without maintenance or cleaning. The automaker also claims that by connecting the filters together and using city information about the filtration system, they can be cleaned before a major rainfall to prevent the trapped microplastics to get washed away to the ecosystem. The luxury carmaker's ADAC Driving Safety Center will help TU Berlin to develop the technology.
“Our goal is to take preventative actions wherever possible so that fewer microplastics get into the environment," said Rudiger Recknagel, Director of the Audi Environmental Foundation, while talking about this technology. TU Berlin claims that this filtration system can trap microplastics with ground tyre rubber between 20 to 1,000 micrometres.
Estimates suggest that around 110,000 metric tons of road wear particles end up on the streets in form of microplastics every year in Germany alone. During rain, these microplastics are swept through the sewer system into waterways and ultimately into the ocean, where they create long-term environmental damage. The rubber particles from vehicle tyres contribute a large chunk of these microplastics.