Green tyres — a new revolution in the making
The concept of `green' tyre has assumed importance in the context of growing awarness about the need to protect the environment. The gravity of the situation can be guaged from the fact that scientists have estimated that there is about 200 billion tonnes of excess Co2 in the atmosphere and planting one tree eliminates one tonne of Co2 a year.
There is increasing preference among consumers for eco products, which are environment-friendly and cost-effective. The production process has also undergone changes in step with the changing preferences of consumers. The focus is on all-in-one products that do not compromise on quality. The stress is on how the facts are balanced – how performance, handling and road grip are balanced with eco-friendliness and good value for money.
A tyre has its own contribution to the global impact on human health and environment at different stages of its life cycle – right from raw material stage to end of life processing. The tyre impacts the environment most – 86% — while it is in use.
Scrap tyres have environmentally safe applications such as in producing tyre-derived fuel, in civil engineering, ground rubber applications and in rubberised asphalt.
Rolling resistance is the energy loss when tyres are rotating. It is the force that has to be neutralised to keep the tyre moving at a uniform speed. Rolling resistance can be lowered through pattern design, silica- based compounds and reduction in the weight of tyres.
It is important to use the right tyre for the right application. Factors that help in minimising rolling resistance also include maintaining proper inflation pressure, wheel alignment, balancing and rotation, proper driving practice and the overall upkeep of tyres.
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) is an important component for the technical performance of the tyre and, in particular, for its road grip properties. However, some PAH are harmful to human health in the case of chronic exposure.
Optimised pattern design with variable pitch helps in reducing tyre noise. The European authorities have now incorporated certain measures and defined the maximum acceptable noise levels applicable for various types of tyres.
Despite the gravity of the climate change issue, there has been no consensus on implementing a globally accepted policy on climate change and environment. This was once again proved at the Copenhagen UN Climate Change Conference.