Green tyres turn climate change corner for good

Date:11 September 2020

The time of cruise control in the middle lane of environmental choices is over as solutions that make sense for the planet and business prove their worth. One such case saw Wits University in the driving seat of a study to measure the performance of green low-rolling resistance tyres against a set of conventional ones.

While these eco-tyres may be the new kid on the block in green driving, the results will ensure they are readily accepted in the trucking game with drastically less CO2 emissions, fuel savings of more than eight percent and the ability to unlock 40 percent more profit for the transporter.

Two long-haul trucks were put through equal paces at the Gerotek test facilities – one fitted with a set of conventional tyres and the second with green tyres. Wits researchers from the School of Mechanical, Industrial and Aeronautical Engineering monitored several datasets, including fuel efficiency, coming from the vehicles.

The results showed that, at 80 km/h, the long-haul truck burnt eight percent less fuel on the green versus the ordinary tyres. “This means eight percent less CO2 was emitted into the atmosphere from a single truck,” said Wits Professor Frank Kienhöfer. “Implement this on all long-haul transport trucks in South Africa and this green intervention could make a significant difference.”

Even though green tyres have a 25% shorter lifespan than their traditional counterparts, they still hold the edge when it comes to financial benefits to transport companies. He pointed out that such fuel savings in the low profit margin transport business could increase profits by 40%, even when calculating in the tyres’ shorter lifespan.

Working under the umbrella of the Centre for Sustainable Road Freight South Africa, the study included participation by Michelin, Iveco, Afrit, Lafarge, Total, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), and Cambridge University. Wits oversaw the trials, ensuring that everything from booking the track to setting up the test protocols was in place.

“Green tyres are in pole position to accelerate green driving which is key is for the transport sector to propel momentum forward to positively impact climate management,” concluded Kienhöfer.

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Image: Unsplash

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