Female researcher ‘EU Inventor of the Year’ with ‘regenerative’ tire
French Michelin researcher Agnès Poulbot received the award of ‘European Inventor of the Year’ for creating a truck tire that can ‘regenerate’ its tread. She shares the award with her deceased colleague Jacques Barraud.
Less fuel and less rolling resistance
It is a fact that a used tire consumes less fuel than a new one thanks to its worn out sculptures that offer less rolling resistance. It is on that basis that Michelin researchers Agnès Poulbot and Jacques Barraud have tried to develop the ideal tire.
“In CAD, we put different layers on one another. When the first one wears out, it reveals the second one with deeper threads conceived to minimize the energy dispersion”, explains the French mathematician.
“This layer wears out too and makes another one appear without any impact on driving.” In some sorts, this tire ‘regenerates’ three times, which offers substantial gains on fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
Only on trucks
After two years of research and three years of development, the tire has been put on the market in Michelin’s new truck tire series X-Multi. Transposing the theory to passenger car’s tires is currently under research but it’s not as easy as it sounds.
“We put up three layers on truck tires that are commonly thicker. It would be hard to stack them up in a car tire that is just 8 mm thick”, continues Agnès. “Furthermore, the consumption gains are 25% for trucks and 20% for cars.”
According to the French researcher, the new Regenion tire allows to save 26 grams of CO2 per km, which represents 2,6 tons every 100.000 km. In terms of fuel, that represents 1.000 litres.
In 2017, Michelin has sold 170.000 tires equipped with the Regenion technology and aims at selling nearly 700.000 in two years. That would represent 15% of truck tire sales.