Sumitomo and Professor Hiroshi Tani of Kansai University have developed a new technology to generate electricity from the rotation of a tire. By installing a power generating device (or Energy Harvester) inside a tire, researchers were able to convert static electricity into clean energy.
The new device, which Sumitomo calls the ‘SMART TYRE CONCEPT’, takes advantage of frictional charging, a type of static electricity that forms each time a tire’s footprint deforms during rotation.
Sumitomo hopes the new technology holds potential for practical applications as a power source for various automotive components, such as Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) sensors.
In October 2018, the Japan Science and Technology Agency selected this research for seed funding under A-STEP (Adaptable and Seamless Technology Transfer Program through Target-Driven R&D), a program designed to help move new technology from academic research into commercial production. Sumitomo hopes to continue working on the project with the Science and Technology Agency.