Earlier this year, the company Goodyear announced its concept of a tire that can harvest heat in a variety of ways to help power electric vehicles. Since then, researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison have been hard at work on their own accord to develop a tire that can harvest the typically wasted power produced from friction.
A team of UW-Madison researchers got together, led by Dr. Xudong Wang, to develop a nanogenerator that has the ability to harvest the energy from a car’s rolling tire friction, which will potentially make care tires a much more efficient product.
Find the paper in the journal Nano Energy, and take a look at Wang’s past paper, “3D Nanowire Architectures for Highly-Efficient Photoelectrochemical Anodes,” published in ECS Transactions.
This from UW-Madison:
The nanogenerator relies on the triboelectric effect to harness energy from the changing electric potential between the pavement and a vehicle’s wheels. The triboelectric effect is the electric charge that results from the contact or rubbing together of two dissimilar objects.
“The friction between the tire and the ground consumes about 10 percent of a vehicle’s fuel,” he says. “That energy is wasted. So if we can convert that energy, it could give us very good improvement in fuel efficiency,” said Wang.
The amount of energy the tires can harness is directly related to the weight of the car and the speed it is traveling. Overall, Wang estimates a 10 percent increase in the average vehicle’s gas mileage.
“There’s big potential with this type of energy,” Wang says. “I think the impact could be huge.”