Author: Founder, CEO, team rep, and author: Kristen Tapping; Supported by: London South Bank University, London Business School Launchpad, Sustainable Innovations, The Worshipful Company of Horners, Dassault Systems, Covestro.
Air pollution is one of the most important public health challenges of the 21st century as it continues to threaten the health and prosperity of populations across the globe. It is responsible for more than seven million deaths every year worldwide, of which 600,000 are children. Its global cost is $9 billion a day, or $4 trillion per year. Our product comes at a needed time in the market due to these social and environmental challenges. GoRolloe is developing a bicycle wheel to filter outdoor air pollution including noxious gases and particulate matter. Using only the rider’s kinetic energy, the wheel draws polluted air into a set of filters and expels the cleaner air towards the rider’s face and into the environment. The average PM2.5 concentration in London is 13.3 μg/m3. Our 26″ wheel can filter 1.25 m3/km of air which, based on the usage of 11,500 Santander bikes in London, equates to 170,560m3 filtered per day, or 24 professional European football fields at a 1 meter height. The filters can be cleaned and reused on a continuous basis creating a circular product lifecycle. Captured pollutants are donated to third party organisations to create new products such as construction material. The materials used to create the wheel will either be a reinforced recycled polymer that can in turn be recycled, or an innovative biocomposite that can withstand environmental stresses and the extreme wear and tear that comes with industrial usage. The wheel can be adapted to any bike and is initially targeted at cycle-for-hire schemes followed later by the consumer market. The end users of the product are city commuters using bikes for their daily transits. Local authorities are interested in this solution as it improves air quality for their community, gets their citizens involved in sustainability, and promotes a green image of their city. By integrating cycle-for-hire schemes, our product will be available throughout most city areas reaching people from all economic statuses. This innovation enables citizens to actively participate in creating cleaner air around them, increasing health and safety for themselves and the public. The concept was initially developed by the founder as a student at London South Bank University (LSBU) and has since won an award, received international media coverage, and received interest from government bodies and private manufacturers and distributors. The product is now undergoing development and testing to optimize function, promote ergonomic use, reduce manufacturing costs, and establish concrete data on pollution capture. We have in-kind support from LSBU allowing us to conduct prototyping and testing using their equipment and facilities. We have also been awarded an engineering grant by Sustainable Innovations providing us with experts in material research, filter testing, and CFD analysis. During final stages, the filters will be tested in a real environment and analysed by third party laboratories to externally validate the data. GoRolloe aims to have test models ready to pilot launch by Fall 2021 and have commercial output by mid-2022.