Scientists and tyre technicians in Japan are working to develop tyres that generate their own electricity. The power created could then be used to run a car’s tyre pressure monitoring systems, amongst other devices, alleviating a drain on the battery.
The technology is being developed by Sumitomo Rubber Industries, the parent company of Falken, which is working with Professor Hiroshi Tani from Kansai University in the city of Suita, Osaka. The Energy Harvester, as it is known, harnesses the build-up of static electricity inside the tyre and turns it into electricity as the car’s wheels turn.
Now for the clever part; the Energy Harvester consists of two layers of rubber which are both covered in an electrode and a negatively charged film that interacts with a positively charged film. When fixed to the inside of a tyre, the system generates electricity as the tyre rotates.
The device which was initially created as part of Sumitomo’s research and development programme has earned the support of the Japan Science and Technology Agency and the inventors believe that the energy generated could be used to power a number of devices without the need for batteries.
The research is now being advanced with the help of the Japan Science and Technology Agency so it might not be too long before our car tyres are their own little ‘power stations’.
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