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BETTER ENERGY USE
Improving tyre energy efﬁciency could help reduce global fuel consumption from passenger vehicles by as much as 5%. This is the major ﬁnding of researchers at the Washington DCbased International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT). Ed Pike and Anup Bandivadekar say efﬁciency could be achieved through better tyre management practices
inﬂation. “The global adoption of tyre efﬁciency standards, labelling as well as TPMS will result in a net impact of 3-5% on fuel consumption,” Pike and Bandivadekar said citing studies. The ICCT, which grew out of an international meeting of air quality regulators and experts during a meeting in the Italian city of Bellagio, made many ground-breaking decisions on motor vehicle technology and transportation fuel. It was attended by specialists from China, the European Union, France, Germany and the United States. There was “unprecedented” consensus among them on the principles of forward-thinking and progressive policies on transportation fuel use. What is interesting is that the tyre energy gains could be achieved through presently available technologies that could be quickly adopted. Reducing tyre under-inﬂation, either via manual pressure checks or pressure checks induced by TPMS is not only a low-cost alternative to improve tyre energy efﬁciency, but properly inﬂated tyres will also improve the safety performance of all vehicles on the road. sacriﬁcing traction. Engineers are designing tyres that allow deﬂection to the extent required to maintain tyre contact when hitting road bumps, while minimising deformation to decrease RR when driving on smooth roads. It has been found that tyres with greater tread depth generally have greater RR due to the additional rubber and other materials. Although tyre makers could offer new products with reduced tread depth, the beneﬁt from RR decrease would be offset by the need to replace tyres more frequently. Based on current projections the number of cars on the planet is expected to go up from one to two billion in 20 years. The energy used by the transportation sector will double by 2050. An analysis by US National Academy of Sciences says the net energy usage by tyre would account for 5 to 7.4% of the total energy loss for a passenger vehicle with an internal combustion engine. This highlights the importance of taking measures to minimise tyre energy losses.
Researchers at the Washington DCbased International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) say that tyres are an often-overlooked factor in passenger vehicle energy use. They say that readily achievable improvements in tyre energy efﬁciency could reduce global fuel consumption from passenger vehicles by as much as 5%. Ed Pike and Anup Bandivadekar told Polymers & Tyre Asia in an interview that there are two pathways for reducing fuel consumption through better management of tyres. “By adopting a tyre efﬁciency rating and standards programme, the rolling resistance (RR) of all tyres in the ﬂeet can be reduced by nearly 15% over the next decade. This has a potential to reduce fuel consumption of all vehicles on road by up to 3%.” In addition, implementation of tyre pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) on all new vehicles can ensure that tyres stay inﬂated at appropriate pressure. For a tyre inﬂated to pressures between 24 and 36 psi, each drop of 1 psi leads to a 1.4% increase in its RR thereby undermining fuel efﬁciency. Various estimates in the US and Europe indicate that somewhere between 25% and 50% of vehicles on road have under-inﬂation of up to 25%. The widespread implementation of TPMS could contribute to immediate elimination of under-inﬂation and reduction in fuel consumption by 1-2%. Unfortunately, vehicle users are not fully aware of the advantages of proper tyre
PTA News Bureau
Tyre efﬁciency rating and labelling are an important ﬁrst step in improving
RR occurs as tyres deform during rotation. The portion of the tyre that is deformed is subjected to compression, bending, and shearing forces within the rubber material that makes up the tyre. Studies by the US National Research Council have shown that improving the RR of replacement tyres by 10% will help slash fuel consumption by 1-2%. There is no compromise on safety as it has been included in all tyre RR labelling programmes and standards, which are designed to encourage improvement and prevention of future backsliding. Now technologies are available for improved design and materials such as silica, which can reduce RR without
POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA DECEMBER 2011/JANUARY 2012
tyre efﬁciency because they encourage customers to choose and retailers and manufacturers to provide more efﬁcient tyres. The most effective programmes will provide efﬁciency information to consumers in multiple ways that are easy to understand. Tyre producers in the EU, the US, Japan, and South Korea, who account for a large proportion of global tyre manufacturing and sales, have tyre energy efﬁciency programmes in place but none has implemented a comprehensive plan, ICCT said. As a result, there are opportunities for all countries to beneﬁt from shared experience and lessons learned. Several governments, particularly EU and US are coming up with new tyre efﬁciency labelling, which would contribute to greater consumer awareness about tyre energy efﬁciency. “Labelling that creates consumer pull can be an effective strategy for encouraging progress at the top end while standards are effective at bringing up the bottom of the market,” Pike and Bandivadekar stated in the interview. In addition to encouraging consumers to consider attributes such as efﬁciency and safety of products at the point of purchase, labelling can also encourage manufacturers to improve the type of products that they offer. Labelling is most effective when it is coupled with better energy efﬁciency rating such that minimum RR of all tyres in the market is improved steadily over time. “The impact of creating the consumer pull along with a standards push can result in reducing RR overall,” they explained citing ﬁgures. The challenge is to set up credible surveillance and enforcement mechanism to ensure that regulators are able to monitor the manufacturing process that would ensure that these labels reﬂect the actual situation. Veriﬁcation will be important to insure the integrity of the information that consumers rely on, and also guarantee fair competition. Regulators should require manufacturers to report their test data along with their ratings. Regulators should also spot-check the ratings with independent testing, and should have the authority to implement ﬁnes and other action against cheating and non-
compliance, Pike and Bandivadekar said. Tyre labelling regulations would also encourage manufacturers to face competition on a level-playing ground that would enable low-cost manufacturing countries such as China and India to take advantage of their cost factors, some analysts have pointed out. By introducing effective tyre labelling and standards, domestic manufacturers will be compelled to become competitive globally. Take South Korea as an example: EU accounts for 34% of South Korea’s
tyre labelling programme in South Korea has been to encourage domestic manufacturers to produce tyres that can compete in other markets that have adopted labelling and or standards. “This same strategy may also yield beneﬁts for tyre manufacturers in China and India,” the researchers said.
The ICCT has recommended that tyre efﬁciency programmes should include a safety component to ensure that current levels are maintained and improvements can be achieved where feasible. It has also recommended that consumers should be provided with information that encourages treadwear improvement to reduce tyre disposal rates and potentially cut particulate emissions from tyre wear. Large-scale adoption of tyre efﬁciency programmes over the next decade with the aim to reduce vehicle fuel consumption by approximately 3% can contribute to cutting of global well-towheels greenhouse gas emissions by 100 million tonnes per year in 2020. This improvement would avert the emission of more than 45,000 tonnes per year of nitrogen oxides and 10,000 tonnes per year of ﬁne particulates from upstream fuel production and reﬁning. The potential annual fuel savings of 30 billion litres represent a cost savings of about US$30 billion annually if reﬁned oil prices average US$1 per litre, thereby providing substantial energy security beneﬁt for oil-importing countries. These estimates indicate that the incremental cost of lower RR tyres would be repaid in about 14 months. However, ICCT report points out that consumers still lack information on energy efﬁciency and other characteristics of replacement tyres. In addition, in some markets such as China and EU, the tyres used for fuel economy testing may not be the same as those on new vehicles sold to individual consumers. Proper tyre inﬂation will improve durability along with efﬁciency and thus reduce the environmental impact of tyre disposal. Energy efﬁciency of tyres has multiple beneﬁts for the consumer and the environment. What is needed is building awareness among consumers about maintaining proper tyre pressure.
L abelling is most
effective when it is coupled with minimum energy efﬁciency rating such that minimum rolling resistance of all tyres in the market is improved steadily over time
tyre exports, whereas the US passenger vehicle and light-truck market consumed about 20% of the Asian country’s total on-road passenger vehicle tyre production as of 2009. One of the motivations for introducing
DECEMBER 2011/JANUARY 2012 POLYMERS & TYRE ASIA