Falken Tire may have found a new way to generate electricity to help extend electric vehicle range — an in-tire energy harvester.
The developments come from Falken’s parent company, Sumitomo Rubber Industries, under the leadership from Professor Hiroshi Tani of Kansai University, who has come up with a device that takes advantage of the build-up of static electricity (known as frictional charging) as a tire rolls over road surfaces.
The in-tire Energy Harvester affixed to the inside of the tire opposite the tread is made up of two layers of rubber covered in an electrode, and a negatively charged film that interfaces with a positively charged film. As the tire defaces during normal operation, the two film rub together to generate electricity.
Although applications for generating any suitable amount of electricity to power a complete vehicle are far off, engineers see it as a way to make tire pressure monitors self-sufficient, without the need to have them powered by an external battery. It can also be used to power other accessories that require little power.
The research has been selected by the Japan Science and Technology Agency as a Type FS Seed Project (an enterprise and academia joint project to perform feasibility and application studies) under A-STEP (Adaptable and Seamless Technology Transfer Program through Target-Driven R&D). The Sumitomo Rubber Industries research will now receive support from the Japan Science and Technology Agency.