A new technology that could see tires generate electricity while driving is being developed by engineers at SRI. Together with Prof. Hiroshi Tani of Kansai University in Japan, researchers have created an energy harvester that takes advantage of the build-up of static electricity – known as frictional charging – to produce power efficiently as the tire turns.
Inside the energy harvester are two layers of rubber, each covered in an electrode, along with a negatively charged film that interfaces with a positively charged film. When fixed to the inside of a conventional tire carcass, it generates electricity as the tire deforms during rotation.
Engineers believe the energy harvester could lead to practical applications as a power source for sensors used in TPMS and other automotive devices without the need for batteries.
The research has been selected by the Japan Science and Technology Agency as a Type FS* Seed Project under the Adaptable and Seamless Technology Transfer Program through Target-Driven R&D. Sumitomo Rubber Industries will continue to advance the research with support from the Japan Science and Technology Agency.