Generating electricity from tyres

Published by Stephen Goodchild
24th July 2019
Generating electricity from tyres

Solar panels and wind turbines move over, there’s a new source of electricity in town. It’s none other than the trusty tyre.

Mind you, the tyre is just beginning its career as a power source. Japanese firm Sumitomo Rubber Industries (SRI) – best known in the UK through its Falken tyre brand – has carried out joint research with Professor Hiroshi Tani from Osaka’s Kansai University. SRI reports that this collaboration has resulted in “a new technology to generate electric power from the rotation of a tyre.”

A small device known as an energy harvester is responsible for producing this power. Affixed to the inside of the tyre, it converts static electricity. This static electricity is created by the change in tyre shape (deformation) occurring when its tread comes into contact with the road.

SRI doesn’t say how much electricity an energy harvester can convert. Nevertheless, it believes the technology “holds great potential for practical applications as a power source for various automotive digital tools.” The tyre maker names tyre pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) as an application that could be powered from tyre-generated electricity.

Frictional charging is caused by deformation of the tyre’s footprint