high tech, Motoring News, vehicle technology

Farming flexing tyres: Electicity from rubber by Sumitomo

ENERGY HARVESTER: Rubbing rubber could be used to, for instance, power tyre-pressure monitors. Image: Sumitomo

TOKYO, Japan – Electricity generation from inside your car’s tyres is being worked on by Falken Tyres parent company Sumitomo Rubber and a professor at Kansai University.

The theory is that static electricity – ”frictional charging” is the technical name – is said to produce power, efficiently, as the tyre rotates.

The plot involves two layers of rubber, each covered in an electrode, along with a negatively charged film that works with a positively charged film. When fixed to the inside of a conventional tyre it generates electricity as the tyre flexes during rotation. (See illustration.)

PRACTICAL APPLICATION?

Engineers believe the Energy Harvester – seems to be a trade name, already – could become a practical application as a power source for tyre-pressure monitors and other automotive devices without batteries.

It was created as part of a Sumitomo’s R&D programme to develop technology to improve in safety and ”environmental performance”. Now, the research has been selected by the Japan Science and Technology Agency for further action.

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