According to the World Health Organisation, approximately three million people die from ambient outdoor pollution every year. That’s a dramatically huge number and the automotive industry is one of the biggest negative contributors to the shocking data. And no, we are not talking only about air pollution from the exhaust gases generated by ICE-powered vehicles.

Maybe a few of you know that brake dust is now becoming a major problem in large countries. Filtration specialist and supplier Mann+Humel estimates that nearly 10,000 tons of brake dust particles are produced annually from vehicles in Germany alone. If you do some math, you can imagine that hundreds of thousands of millions tons are created on a global scale each year.

Gallery: VW Golf GTD test mule

All these numbers show clearly that automotive manufacturers need to make steps to reduce the amount of fine particles that are produced by brakes. Volkswagen seems to be one of the first to experiment with filtrating systems and the Golf GTD prototype from the attached gallery above is testing brake dust particle filters mounted just beneath the brake callipers.

It’s not exactly clear what’s the source of these filters but Mann+Humel has been working on the problem since 2003. These are most likely units delivered by the Ludwigsburg-based company which use a solid housing that can be fitted to brakes of different sizes. In this case, these appear to be standard steel discs on all four corners.

VW Golf GTD test mule
VW Golf GTD test mule

“One of the largest sources of fine dust from a vehicle is the braking process,” Mann+Humel explains in a recent press release. “This is why Mann+Humel developed its brake dust particle filter. The filter prevents up to 80 percent of the dust particles created during braking from entering the ambient air. The fine dust particle filter retains fine dust which is already present in the ambient air.”

Photos: Automedia