Goodyear has us accustomed to very crazy concepts, and if last year it showed its idea of creating circular tires, at the Geneva International Motor Show in 2018 it presented an even more peculiar prototype. It is a tire coated with moss to generate oxygen while it rotates.
This new concept tire has been called Oxygene, and Goodyear presents it as a solution for cleaner urban journeys. With it, they want to put the emphasis on reducing materials, emissions and energy loss. Although, at the moment they have not given specific details about its operation, only some general concepts.
“With the expectation that more than two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050, the demand for transportation networks in urban environments will increase substantially,” said Chris Delaney, President of Goodyear Europe, Middle East and Africa. “Smarter and greener infrastructure and transport will be crucial to address the most pressing challenges of urban mobility and development.”
Tires that generate oxygen and electricity
The Goodyear Oxygene tires have an open structure with live mosses growing inside their side wall . This structure, together with the design of the tread of the tire, causes the moisture and water on the road to slide towards the moss so that it absorbs it and makes photosynthesis. In this way, and always according to Goodyear, the moss in the wheels will release oxygen to the air as we circulate.
During its photosynthesis the moss in the wheels should also inhale CO2 from the air to feed. According to the company, in a city with about 2.5 million vehicles, this would generate 3,000 tons of oxygen, absorbing more than 4,000 tons of carbon per year. But of course, only in the case that all those cars used these tires, and have not provided any study to corroborate the information.
Goodyear says that the moss on its wheels will also generate electricity through photosynthesis , and that this would be enough to power its internal electronic components. These would be a series of sensors that collect information about the road and tires, and send them to the car through a Li-Fi system. Or at least that’s what they want to achieve.
In addition, the idea is to build these tires using 3D printing , using rubber dust from recycled tires to make them even greener. The resulting structure would be light and capable of absorbing blows, presenting itself as a durable and immune solution to the tires.
At the moment it is only a conceptual design
But as we have said, it is only a conceptual design of the many that are shown in Geneva these days, and that has been imagined by the manufacturer for tomorrow. This means that it is an idea that is still in the initial phases, and that in the best of cases it could arrive in a few years.
Nor have they given too many technical details to specify the details of the operation of the moss, or the amount of CO2 they will consume and the oxygen they will release. Therefore, there is no way of knowing to what extent it will make a difference and it will really make the cities cleaner. We will have to wait to see if the design goes beyond this conceptual phase and is developed by the company to have more details.