Sumitomo Unveils Electricity Harvester Concept

Sumitomo Rubber Industries has teamed up with Kansai University to develop a method of harvesting electricity from the rotation of a tire. Indeed it’s a completely different take on electrification.

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According to information, the harvester gets its electricity from frictional charging, a form of static electricity which is generated when a tire deforms as it rotates along a road surface. This is done with electrodes on rubber pieces for the tire and power-generating device respectively. Electricity is generated through oscillations between the positive and negative-charged films.

The benefit is a power source for sensors such as tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) and other automotive devices and digital tools without additional reliance on a car’s batteries or electrical architecture. And in case of electrified powertrains, it will also help increase battery driving range.

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Sumitomo Rubber Industries is the name behind popular tire brands including Dunlop and Falken. Sumitomo previously unveiled the Smart Tire Concept at the 2017 Tokyo Motor Show, which was a collection of ideas slated to be unveiled in stages over the next few years.

These included Sensing Core, a software package that aims to use tires as sensors for the monitoring of road and tire conditions based on changes in the rotation speeds of each tire; active tread, which aims to adapt the grip qualities of tire rubber to work better in prevailing conditions such as water or ice; airless tires, which do away with the need for tire pressure management; and life cycle assessment for the tires’ environmental-friendliness over the entire lifespan, from manufacture and shipping via usage, to recycling.

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