Rome-based Pirelli North America works toward environmental sustainability projects with new partnership
Looking ahead to how its products affect the environment, Rome-based Pirelli North America announced this week a partnership with an environmentally friendly highway testbed on an 18-mile stretch of I-85.
The purpose of a highway testbed is to provide an open road experimental facility for testing, in this case, tires. The idea is to create that environment with little to no environmental damage for the area.
The Ray, a nonprofit based in Atlanta, has partnered with Pirelli to develop an environmentally friendly testbed in west Georgia.
This partnership aims build the company’s ability to deliver technology for road safety, circular economy, EV charging infrastructure and renewable energy with an eye for the environmental and social impacts of manufacturing and use of tires.
“Being part of sustainability solutions that extend beyond just our product is an important part of our commitment to climate action,” said Maureen Kline, vice president for public affairs and sustainability for Pirelli North America, in a media release. “We know that tires are the one thing between the vehicle and the road. By working with The Ray, we can join forces to identify challenges, develop solutions and drive real change.”
The company also is focusing on what environmentally friendly uses tires may have.
Pirelli cited multiple studies pointing to the benefits of both rubber-modified asphalt and reuse of tire material. Because of this, Pirelli is investigating future projects with The Ray to further research the impact of rubber-modified asphalt, as well as the use of tire-derived aggregate for stormwater galleries.
Pirelli has set goals to increase the renewable and recycled content of tires and reduce environmental impacts. The company is also focusing on mitigation strategies to reduce the broader environmental impacts of its products, including end-of-life tires and tire and road wear particles.
According to the International Energy Agency, emissions from transportation have grown at an average, and compounding, rate of 1.7% from 1990 to 2022. That rate is faster than any other sector except for industry.
The partnership with The Ray will look at several areas of environmental mitigation.
“Pirelli leads from Georgia, with an advanced manufacturing facility that was the first FSC-certified tire plant in the world. Likewise, The Ray leads and scales net-zero transportation infrastructure from The Ray Highway in Georgia,” Allie Kelly, executive director of The Ray said in a media release. “The alignment between the organizations, focused on safety, circularity and innovation, will power the partnership to produce groundbreaking projects and research in the coming years, and the impact will benefit communities across the country.”