Nanotechnology and Tyres

Nanotechnology and Tyres

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18 July 2014
9789264209152 (PDF) ;9789264209145(print)

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New nanomaterials offer promising avenues for future innovation, which can contribute towards the sustainability and resource efficiency of the tyre industry. Yet uncertainty over environmental health and safety (EHS) risks appears to be a main and continuous concern for the development of new nanomaterials in tyre production, even for those closest to market. Lack of sector-specific guidance represents a major gap.


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  • Foreword

    The rapidly advancing field of nanotechnology has the potential to impact industrial and economic development, the environment and society at a global level. The benefits are expected to be significant, with potential applications that could help to address major global challenges, such as sustainable energy production, water provision, healthcare and climate change.

  • Acronyms and abbreviations
  • Executive summary

    The demand for vehicles is expected to double by 2030, putting enormous pressure on the sustainability of the transport sector. A number of measures should be taken to manage this increase and prevent its massive impact on the environment, society and the economy. These measures include, for example: reducing the use of personal vehicles by increasing the availability of public transport services, developing greener vehicles, and providing more sustainable tyres. Indeed, tyres significantly contribute to the overall environmental impact of the transport sector due to the high levels of natural resources used in their production (for example, natural rubber and synthetic rubber derived from fossil fuels) and the effect of the rolling resistance of tyres on vehicle fuel consumption.

  • Reader's guide
  • Nanotechnology in tyres: Status of the technology

    This opening chapter provides an introduction to the use of nanotechnology for improving tyre performance, and in particular tyre sustainability. It provides an overview of some of the main nanotechnology solutions currently in use and emerging, as they apply in tyre production. Four nanomaterials are being investigated in more detail in this chapter: two that are currently in use – carbon black and conventional "highly dispersible" (HD) silica, and two emerging ones – new generation "highly dispersible high surface area" (HD-HS) silica and nanoclays. It also gives a first insight into the main technical barriers to commercialisation and uptake of new nanomaterials in the tyre industry.

  • Key drivers of innovation in the tyre industry

    This chapter considers the drivers of innovation that can influence the uptake and diffusion of new nanomaterials in the tyre production process. It discusses the main market drivers that can affect the innovation process and the policy levers that could drive the uptake of different technologies. It discusses the nature of innovation and the likely future direction of the tyre industry regarding the development of new nanomaterials in tyre production.

  • Socio-economic impacts of the development of new nanomaterials in tyres production

    This chapter provides an assessment of the socio-economic impacts that may result from the use of new nanomaterials in the tyre industry. The analysis focuses on two emerging nanomaterials – new generation "highly dispersible high surface area" (HD-HS) silica and nanoclays. A cost-benefit analysis is first used to compare impacts that are quantifiable in monetary terms considering three stakeholder groups: consumers (final consumers), producers (tyre manufacturers) and the society and the environment. An assessment and a discussion are then conducted about impacts that are relatively difficult to quantify and monetise, with a particular focus on societal impacts (public health and safety, impacts on developing countries, employment and road accidents) and on environmental impacts (resource consumption and use of energy). The chapter finally discusses this range of potential future impacts that could be expected from the uptake of nanotechnology in tyres.

  • Environmental impacts in the context of life-cycle assessment

    Using a life-cycle assessment methodology, this chapter evaluates potential environmental impacts of three different vehicle tyre technologies: the reference tyres (using nanoscale carbon black and highly dispersible [HD] silica); and next generation tyres, namely HD-HS silica nano-enabled tyres and nanoclay (montmorillonite) nano-enabled tyres. It looks, in particular, at impacts on greenhouse gases emissions across the product lifecycle, impacts on natural resource consumption and flows across the lifecycle, and impacts of nanowaste from end-of-life tyres. The chapter also makes recommendations aimed at improving the life-cycle assessment framework for assessing the relative impacts of baseline and nano-enabled tyres.

  • Environment, health and safety: Development of a risk management framework

    This chapter attempts to develop a risk management framework for nanomaterial used as an additive in any nano-enabled tyre. It provides a first insight into a methodology for evaluating the potential human health and environmental concerns associated with the entire life cycle of nanomaterials used in tyres, focusing on tyre manufacturing operations. It gives examples of how to use this methodology using two new nanomaterials that have potential real-world application in nano-enabled tyres: high-dispersion, high surface area (HD-HS) silica and nanoclays.

  • Environment, health and safety: Knowledge and best practice transfer

    This chapter examines some of the initiatives aiming to the transfer of best practice for addressing environmental, health and safety (EHS) concerns regarding the use of nanotechnology in general, and most specifically in the tyre industry. It reviews 24 initiatives at the national and international levels aiming to support knowledge transfer in the area of EHS. The chapter also highlights the nature of the challenges met by policy makers in developing and exchanging EHS best practices.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Annexes

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    • Stakeholder engagement

      Stakeholders were engaged as part of this study via an online survey and interviews. To ensure broad coverage, the survey was sent to a list of stakeholders in industry, academia and government. It contained questions on the relative importance of different factors affecting innovation, commercialisation and knowledge sharing with respect to nanotechnology in tyre production. All questions were based on a 5-point Likehert scale, ranging from 1 (the factor is considered to be not important at all) to 5 (the factor is considered very important). The survey was followed up with interviews with selected participants to seek further input.

    • Data, assumptions and results from the societal cost-benefit model
    • Data, assumptions and detailed results for the life-cycle analysis

      Summaries of the primary data modules and data sources used for the life-cycle inventory of reference and nano-enabled tyre product systems are presented in Tables C.1, C.2 and C.3 for the European Union, United States and the People’s Republic of China geographic scopes, respectively.

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