Its a common thing to get to know that the power is generated from wind, Water, coal and lots of more resources. But doesn’t it sound exciting to discover that power can be generated from the rolling wheels too due to the friction of the tires. “Energy can neither be created nor destroyed, it can just be transformed from one form to the other ” is once again proved in this concept.
A group of University of Wisconsin-Madison engineers and a collaborator from China have developed a nanogenerator that harvests energy from a car’s rolling tire friction. Xudong Wang has developed a new way to harvest energy from rolling tires.Nanogenerator is a technology that converts mechanical/thermal energy as produced by small-scale physical change into electricity.The nanogenerator relies on an electrode integrated into a segment of the tire. When this part of the tire surface comes into contact with the ground, the friction between those two surfaces ultimately produces an electrical charge-a type of contact electrification known as the triboelectric effect.
One of the more promising ways automotive technology might be improved upon lies in the energy wastage caused by friction as tires roll across the road. Armed with special nanogenerator and a toy Jeep, the researchers have demonstrated that this power can be captured and turned into electricity, a development that could bring about better fuel efficiency in the full-sized cars of the future.
Accordingly, the friction developed as a car’s tires run over the ground accounts for approximately 10 percent of the vehicle’s fuel usage. This is a point where the research work was done where lies a big opportunity to improve efficiency, so for the last year or so University of Wisconsin-Madison engineers have been building a device to tackle the problem.
During initial trials, Wang and his colleagues used a toy car with LED lights to demonstrate the concept. They attached an electrode to the wheels of the car, and as it rolled across the ground, the LED lights flashed on and off. The movement of electrons caused by friction was able to generate enough energy to power the lights, supporting the idea that energy lost to friction can actually be collected and reused.
The researchers also determined that the amount of energy harnessed is directly related to the weight of a car, as well as its speed. Therefore the amount of energy saved can vary depending on the vehicle-but Wang estimates about a 10-percent increase in the average vehicle’s gas mileage given 50-percent friction energy conversion efficiency.