Reducing co2 emissions: cars and trucks will soon have to filter ambient air

To reduce air pollution in europe, the next emissions standard will likely require filters for brake dust. This is how cars could clean the air.

If markus kolczyk has his way, cars will soon become mobile air filters – similar to the filter columns that improve the ambient air at the neckartor in stuttgart. The head of development for original equipment at the globally active ludwigsburg-based filter manufacturer mann + hummel has worked with his team to build active and passive devices that can be used by cars and trucks to extract dust from the air produced during braking, among other things.

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With passive filters, the brake system or even the entire wheel is enclosed in a housing. The brake dust is collected by a filter that has to be replaced at regular intervals in the workshop – similar to an air-conditioning system.

The active filter, on the other hand, uses a blower to suck in and clean the air around the vehicle. Whether the filter separates the brake dust of one’s own car or that of the neighboring car will then no longer play a major role – the bottom line is that pollution from fine dust should be reduced.

Tests in snow, sand and high speed

"We have developed the product to market maturity," says kolczyk in an interview with tagesspiegel background. the engineers have not only tested the filters on the test bench, but also in intensive driving trials in snow, sand, at high speeds and on the grobglockner mountain. The technology has passed all tests.

Now mann + hummel is in talks with all car manufacturers. The passive filters could even be retrofitted to existing vehicles. All manufacturers would know that the forthcoming euro 7 emissions standard (background reported) would also set 99 percent requirements for brake dust. Nevertheless, they would still wait, as long as they do not know exact limit values from brussel.

They wanted the most cost-effective solutions possible. With a view to the past, kolczyk allows himself to quietly criticize the industry: "Compared to exhaust gas, this topic could be approached more proactively and more could be made of it."

In his estimation, euro 7 will make the installation of filters for brake dust mandatory in 2025. Therefore, car manufacturers would have to include the technology in their design plans for new models in 2022. Kolczyk knows from experience that the experts at the EU commission are very well informed about what is technically feasible. Therefore, he expects specifications that are realistic but demanding – not a placebo solution.

Only 15 percent of particulate emissions come from the tailpipe

Kolczyk says that in modern cars with internal combustion engines, only about 15 percent of the total fine dust emissions come from the exhaust. Now the other 85 percent need to be tackled: "We want zero emissions, not just zero tailpipe emissions."mann + hummel is also driving the issue forward in a research project with the german Aerospace center; the DLR also deals with challenges close to the ground.

More on this topic

Filters for burners what if cars would improve city air instead of worsening it?

Against fine dust. The company has already installed filters in Stuttgart, and now cars and trucks are to be equipped with them as well

As the share of e-cars increases, the problem of nitrogen oxides is becoming smaller, but brake dust still plays a role despite recuperation – as does tire wear. In the spring, an expert from the EU Commission said that her agency had the clear goal of significantly reducing the burden on humans and the environment from these sources. She also made a connection to euro 7 and the more ambitious air quality goals of the world health organization (WHO). The EU Commission plans to publish a scientific study on tire and brake abrasion in the near future.

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