The Audi Environmental Foundation is developing filters for urban runoff in conjunction with the Technical University of Berlin (TUB). The filters prevent tire wear particles and other environmentally harmful substances from being washed into sewers and bodies of water along with rainwater. Initial field and lab tests have now demonstrated the efficiency of the system.
Tire and road wear particles are generated as a result of every car ride. An estimated 110,000 metric tons of it ends up on the streets in the form of microplastics every year in Germany alone. From there, it is blown into the environment by the wind, or is washed by the rain as urban runoff through the sewers into the soil and rivers and ultimately the oceans.
Together with the TUB Department of Urban Water Management, the Audi Environmental Foundation is developing an innovative new filter concept for urban runoff. These filters can be combined individually depending on the road and traffic situation. They trap the respective dirt particles as close as possible to the location where they are generated before rainwater can rinse them into the sewers. The project was launched in September 2020.
Tests in a laboratory at TU Berlin have shown that the filters work very effectively. Without clogging up, the filters managed to permanently trap “genuine” street cleaning waste, cigarette filters, microplastics in the form of plastic granulates up to three millimeters in size, candy wrappers, and lids of disposable coffee cups.