The term green tyre refers to a new class of environmentally friendly rubber that is bursting onto the global market. Green tyre technology focuses on the fuel efficiency bit among the three categories that give a tyre it’s eco-rating: fuel efficiency, wet grip and noise. Green tyres consist of 200 ingredients and more than 20 different types of rubber – each with their own unique characteristics.
How do green tyres help?
These eco-friendly tyres also use a special type of tightly bonded rubber in the treads to hold more energy while driving – this causes lower rolling resistance and thereby, less engine power is consumed in rotating the tyre. Rolling resistance of a tyre accounts for a quarter of its CO2 emissions and reducing this will reduce the vehicle’s carbon footprint by up to 300kg a year.
Why the tyres and the need for polymers?
Presently, automotive tyres account a large share of carbon black and addition of this to rubber drastically improves its reinforcement properties of both itself and the base material; and also, being a naturally occurring pigment, when added to rubber products enhances the “blackness”of the final product.
The increased polymer production in the building, automotive and packaging industries will drive growth in the market, and researchers say that carbon black is expected to have the highest growth prospects over the emerging growth of green tyres.
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The use of Silica and the eco-friendly factor
Silica is being fiercely adopted by the tyre industry as a reinforcement material due to the gripping safety and environmental factors. Manufacturers are increasingly using silica-based compounds as a replacement for carbon black.
Silica also offers a higher reinforcing ability and improves fuel efficiency, while carbon black has a higher rolling resistance, which results in better tyre productivity and enhances the capabilities of the tyre.
The high demand for polymers, but why?
Polymers exhibit many features superior to those of traditional materials like glass, metal and wood. One is that it is lightweight, which makes it tremendously useful in the automotive industry. It also reduces effective weight and helps in improving fuel efficiency.
Further, polymers allow for easy moldability and higher durability. They also consume less space as compared to other materials. Plastic composites are expected to witness the highest demand in the near future owing to their ability to blend with other materials.
How are green tyres coming to the picture?
Growing awareness regarding environment conservation is expected to result in a higher demand for green tyres in the near future and this factor is expected to stay the same for quite some time. The low resistance property of silica has resulted in replacing parts of or all of the carbon black in tyres.
Though there is a higher growth is expected in carbon black industry in future owing growing demand from the tyre and other industries, their industry is facing some challenges too.
Carbon black is a potentially dangerous element to human health owing to its carcinogenic property. Furthermore, the substitution threat from other filler materials including silica and other silanes is also expected to hamper market growth.
The shift in trend to green tyres
Increasing demand for speciality carbon black in green tyres for improving colour, conductivity as well as viscosity along with excellent UV protection is expected to result in providing new opportunities for market growth.
At a glance, China dominated the global market and the trend is expected to continue over the next few years. Presence of large-scale tyre manufacturing facilities in the region along with the presence of other non-tyre related industries that consume carbon black is expected to result in large consumption in the near future.
Rapid industrialisation in emerging economies like China and India is expected to drive demand for thesegreen tyres.
Do they really help us?
Compared to premium tyres, green tyres can reduce the braking distance at a speed of 80 km/h by up to 20 metres. If the whole planet followed suit, we would not only be safer, but the world would be a lot greener too. Equipping all the cars with eco-friendly tyres would save up to 20 billion litres of fuel a year, and cut down worldwide CO2 emissions by almost 50 million tonnes.