A single – electrode nanogenerator which is able to incorporate to a tire was developed to harvest energy from a tire rolling against the pavement. The nanogenerator was developed by a team of researchers from University of Wisconsin-Madison and a scientist in China.
When the car tire’s rubber comes in contact with the pavement, the friction will produce an electrical charge which is known as tribolectric principle. The electrical charge is then will be collected by nanogenerator and it is what the researchers believed could be a new avenue for greater energy efficiency in automobiles. On top of that the researchers determined that the amount of energy that is produced by the nanogenerator is proportional to the car’s weight and the speed that the car is travelling.
Xudong Wang, associate professor at Wisconsin-Madison said in a press release that the friction between the tire and the ground consumed about 10 percent of a vehicle’s fuel and that energy was wasted, so if they could convert [some of it to electricity], it could gave them very good improvement in fuel efficiency.
The researchers tested the concept by using a toy car with LED lights and as the electrode in the car’s tires of the toy car came in contact with the surface, the energy which is collected by the generator would turn the LED lights on.
Based on the release, there is nothing which mentioned where the energy might be used in a full scale vehicle; however, there is deduction that the energy could be stored in the batteries of hybrid electric vehicles or full EVs.