The Covid-19 epidemic has transformed daily lives in the UK, pausing much of public life and halting economic activities. The nationwide lockdown has seen the introduction of travel restrictions, causing road traffic in the UK to fall, by as much as 73%, to levels not seen since 1955.
Public transport services have been condensed and commercial flights have reduced significantly. In consequence of the unprecedented changes, data analysis demonstrates a dramatic decrease in carbon emissions worldwide and substantial drops in air pollution across the UK’s major cities.
Whilst the disruption and devastation caused by Covid-19 is undeniable, the repercussions of lockdown have created new emphasis on the impact of human activity on earth. We have been compelled to reflect on our relationship with the planet and encouraged to contemplate how we want the ‘new normal’ to look.
As restrictions ease and life starts to return to ‘normal’, people will inevitably get back in their cars, use public transport and return to air travel. As ‘normality’ starts to resume once more the colossal release of pollution and carbon emissions, which has been partially paused recently, will start to increase yet again. It is important we adjust to a ‘new normal’ consciously and imperative that we think innovatively, to create and support more sustainable industries and communities.
Whilst this seems like a challenge, developing options for more sustainable travel is an important place to start. Greenhouse gas emissions from road transport make up around a fifth of UK greenhouse gas emissions and approximately a quarter of car emissions actually originate from disc brakes. Brake wear emissions contribute to air pollution as particulate matter (PM) and these PM emissions can be toxic to humans, causing serious health implications including cardiovascular problems, respiratory diseases and cancer.
In Europe alone there are estimated to be 238 million cars with each vehicle containing at least 4 disc brakes. Not only are disc brakes responsible for air pollution through PM emissions but the disc brake production process and the material needed to manufacture pads and brakes in vast quantities consumes huge amounts of energy and in turn leaves an unenviable carbon footprint. For every 200 disc brakes produced a staggering 4000kg of CO2 is released into the environment.
Somerset based R and D company, Ogab, has used innovative technology to create a sustainable braking system which prolongs the life of disc brakes, therefore reducing the demand for new disc brakes to be manufactured and significantly reducing the creation of carbon emissions and air pollution. Ogab works to research and develop sustainable driving products. The creation of these products promotes incremental improvements to current systems, which in turn operate to ensure that the future of travel is safer, more efficient and human impact on our natural world is reduced.
Whilst the coronavirus restrictions will start to ease, the challenge of the climate crisis will remain. Our planet is at risk of irreversible environmental damage and sustainable innovation in the automotive industry is one sector contributing to create a more sustainable ‘new normal’. As solutions are being created, it is vital that these are seized and utilised. To learn more about Ogab’s research and development projects please visit www.ogab.co.uk or click here.