Triboelectric Nanogenerator Harvests Power from Rolling Tires

Triboelectric Nanogenerator Harvests Power from Rolling Tires

By Shinji Tutoru

THE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN-MADISON, WI, USA. A new nanogenerator (Triboelectric nanogenerator – TENG) was developed to provide an innovative way of reusing energy. This innovation will serve as a new way of reusing energy.

Dr. Xudong Wang, an associate professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and Harvey D. Spangler fellow, together with Yanchao Mao, his PhD student, looked for ways to take advantage of the energy that is usually lost due to friction.

Ten percent of a vehicle’s fuel is consumed by the friction between the tire and the ground. This energy lost and wasted, when converted, can improve fuel efficiency. The nanogenerator is an excellent solution that will take advantage of this lost energy resulting from friction.

When two unlike objects are in contact or rub each other, they produce an electric charge. This is what is called as the triboelectric effect. The nanogenerator depends on the triboelectric effect to harness energy from the changing electric potential between the car’s wheels and the hard surface of a road.

A segment of the tire has an electrode where the nanogenerator is located. This part of the tire surface, when in contact with the pavement, produces an electrical charge- a type of contact electrification known as the triboelectric effect.

The concept was demonstrated by using a toy car with LED lights. An electrode was attached to the car’s wheels. The LED lights turned on and off as the car’s wheels rolled across the ground. The friction was able to generate ample energy to power the lights. This ultimately supported their theory that the energy lost to friction can still be collected and reused.

Wang and his team also determined that the amount of energy harnessed is directly proportional to the car’s weight and speed. This means that the amount of energy saved depends on the vehicle. The researchers estimate that a 10 percent increase in an average vehicle’s gas mileage can be achieved given a 50 percent friction/energy conversion efficiency.

This type of energy has huge potential. It definitely provides a venue on how we can save the energy from consumption. Also, the concept has proven that energy is never wasted. What we perceive as wasted energy can always be reclaimed. In actuality, this makes things more efficient and productive.

Invention Triboelectric Nanogenerator Harvesting Power Via Rolling Tires
Organization University of Wisconsin–Madison
Researcher Dr. Xudong Wang & Team
Field(s) Materials Science & Engineering, Nanotechnology, Energy Harvesting, Nano Energy
Further Information

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