Tech Watch: Goodyear’s Greenwalls

Oxygene concept tire designed for dense urban environments, serving as a sort of mini-filter that pulls CO2 out of the air and replaces that pollution with oxygen.

A rolling stone gathers no moss, but the tire of the future might. 

Goodyear (goodyear.com) rolled out a new concept tire it calls “Oxygene,” which contains living moss grown inside its sidewall. How does it live? Like any bit of sturdy moss, with water and sunlight, both of which are absorbed through the tread enabling photosynthesis.

Why would Goodyear make this lushly wheel? In a word: sustainability. The tire is designed for dense urban environments, serving as a sort of mini-filter that pulls CO2 out of the air and replaces that pollution with oxygen. 

"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," says 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."

But even before any of that moss is grown, the tire already promises several green attributes. Oxygene is made up of rubber powder from pulverized recycled tires and formed through a 3D printing process. That structure creates a “puncture free” tire that at the same time is shock absorbing. The company says the fact that the tire actually absorbs water helps improve the tread’s grip. 

If that wasn’t enough, Goodyear also claims its tire actually produces its own energy from the moss’s photosynthesis to support onboard sensors and a light strip that theoretically would warn other drivers and pedestrians when the vehicle was braking or changing lanes. 
Again, Oxygene is still a concept and chances are most of its claims will not emerge as conceived. But if the technology does, in fact, see the light of day, this tire will make use of it.