The formation of Tractable was somewhat accidental,
and was brought about by an acute environmental crisis.
We reside in Willowbrook, Illinois. In August 2018, the ATSDR released a report that assigned to Willowbrook some of the highest cancer risks due to air pollution in the nation. This was due to the existence of an Ethylene Oxide (EtO) sterilizing operation in the midst of this residential community.
In the following months the EPA set up air monitors throughout the village which confirmed extremely high levels of EtO in the ambient air. The polluting company cried wolf and attributed the cause of the elevated levels to ETO air pollution from a nearby expressway.
This controversy forced concerned members of the community to consider the nature of pollution from mobile sources, in particular its distributions on the road and in the near-road environment.
After many long hours of research it was determined that the nearby expressway was not the source of the elevated ETO in our community. This information didn't surprise any of the researchers.
The real surprise was what the data revealed.
Not only did we have an ETO problem, we also have a carbon particulate issue. Willowbrook isn't alone. Every metropolitan area in the world has this issue and every commuter in traffic is breathing carbon particulates.
We are heavy vehicle designers and engineers; and considering highway pollution as a line source, our first instinct was to create a scrubber that drives along that line.
We focus on particulates
because they are the easiest to collect and also cause the most harm to human health.
The benefits of our technology are reduction of disease due to air pollution, primarily fine particulates; and mitigation of climate change due to reduction of black carbon particles.