Biotechnology harnesses cellular and biomolecular processes to develop technologies and products that help improve our lives and the health of our planet. We have used the biological processes of microorganisms for more than 6,000 years to make useful food products, such as bread and cheese, and to preserve dairy products. Modern biotechnology provides breakthrough products and technologies to combat debilitating and rare diseases, reduce our environmental footprint, feed the hungry, use less and cleaner energy, and have safer, cleaner and more efficient industrial manufacturing processes. Industrial biotech is helping to combat various adverse development in our environment such as the fight against global warming as an alternative and safer form of global energy instead of diminishing volatile fossil fuels. It has led to significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions with the aim to reduce a 2.5 billion tonnes of Co2 equivalent per year by 2030. Agricultural biotech helps reduce fuel use and Co2 emissions whilst producing food containing fewer toxins. It also offers new, improved and adapted agricultural crops to reduce poverty and can increase food security for a growing global population. Industrial biotech is providing innovative way to combat global warming, one of these ways is the moss-filled wheel that converts carbon dioxide into oxygen.
They say that, a rolling stone gathers no moss but a new tyre unveiled at the 2018 Geneva International Motor Show most certainly does. Goodyear’s latest concept tyre, named Oxygene, has a unique structure that features living moss growing within the sidewall.
This 3D-printed concept wheel uses living moss to absorb moisture from the road, before converting it into oxygen through photosynthesis. This tyre concept brings the future of mobility to life as a visionary solution for cleaner, more convenient, safer and more sustainable urban mobility. This open structure and the tyre’s smart tread design absorb and circulate moisture and water from the road surface, allowing photosynthesis to occur and therefore releasing oxygen into the air.
The concept is a response to research conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) that revealed more than 80 per cent of people who live in urban areas are exposed to air quality levels deemed to be unsafe. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) more than 80% of people who live in air pollution-measured urban areas are exposed to air quality levels that exceed WHO limits.
“With more than two-thirds of the world population expected to live in cities by 2050, the demands on transport networks in urban environments will increase substantially,” said Chris Delaney, President of Goodyear Europe, Middle East and Africa. “Smarter, greener infrastructure and transport will be crucial in addressing the most pressing challenges of urban mobility and development,” he continued.
Featuring a 3D-printed, recycled rubber outer body, the tyre is filled with living moss that grows inside its sidewall. The wheel’s open structure and tyre tread allow it to absorb and circulate moisture and water from the road surface. Light reaches the moss through a transparent cover, allowing photosynthesis to occur and therefore releasing oxygen into the air.
By converting carbon dioxide into oxygen, the wheel generates electricity which, in turn, powers its electronic features, including an artificial intelligence processing unit and sensors. Because the tyre is a solid, 3D-printed structure, it eliminates the risk of punctures.
It also has a customisable light strip in its sidewall that switches colours, warning both road users and pedestrians of manoeuvres, such as reversing or braking.
The concept is inspired by the principles of the circular economy, with emphasis on reducing material waste, emissions, and energy loss. Goodyear’s Oxygene concept is designed to integrate seamlessly into future cityscapes, featuring several performance solutions:
Cleaning the Air We Breathe: Oxygene absorbs moisture from the road through its unique tread and inhales Co2 from the air to feed the moss in its sidewall and release oxygen via photosynthesis.
Recycling Worn Tires: Oxygene features a non-pneumatic construction that is 3D-printed with rubber powder from recycled tires. The lightweight, shock-absorbing structure provides a long-lasting, puncture-free solution intended to extend the life of the tire and minimize service issues, delivering worry-free mobility. Additional safety is ensured by the tire’s open structure, which improves wet grip by helping absorb water from the tread.
Generating its Own Electricity: Oxygene harvests the energy generated during photosynthesis to power its embedded electronics, including onboard sensors, an artificial intelligence processing unit, and a customizable light strip in the tire’s sidewall that switches colors, warning both road users and pedestrians of upcoming maneuvers, such as lane changes or braking.
Oxygene is meant to challenge our thinking and help drive the debate around smart, safe and sustainable future mobility. By contributing in this way to cleaner air generation, the tire could help enhance quality of life and health for city-dwellers.