Tires and cars have had an important relationship ever. But what if the tires could play a more integrated role in vehicle design? It would be an interesting idea to capture some of the energy in and around the wheels of a car as it travels on the road and converts it into clean energy.
With the same vision, Sumitomo Rubber Industries unveiled a new technology to generate electricity from the rotation of a tire that could power the vehicle’s onboard accessories. Together with researchers from Japan’s Kansai University, the team has developed a system consisting of a regular car tire and a special energy harvesting device planted inside the tire to convert the static electricity called frictional occurring within a tire into clean energy.
The device has two layers of rubber inside it, each of which is covered in an electrode, along with a negatively charged film that interfaces with a positively charged film. This new device uses a type of static electricity called frictional charging to efficiently generate electric power each time a tire’s footprint deforms as a tire rotates. This electric power can be used to power certain accessories, like dashboard lights or a radio.
Back in 2015, Goodyear revealed a similar concept, Called BH03; the futuristic tire concept imagines how an auto’s wheels could generate electricity that would then power a car.
“We are confident that the results of this latest research will lead to practical applications for this new technology as a power source for sensors used in TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) and other automotive devices, contributing to the creation of future services that make use of various digital tools without any need for batteries,” the team wrote in a release.