The 1st Law of Thermodynamics – Nanogenerators in Car Tires

Sustainability problem: There is a need to diversify sources of energy, especially to move away from fossil fuels.
Sustainability area: Energy

Title of article: Reinventing the wheel, from Popular Science
Name of technology: Triboelectic Nanogenerators (TENG)

  • By pulling latent energy from the ground, tires can reclaim electricity that could extend the battery life and range of electric or hybrid cars.
  • Triboelectic nanogenerators (TENG) harvests electricity that’s naturally transferred between 2 different surfaces when they come into contact and pulled apart.
  • High rate of repetition makes a rotating car tire perfect for this application.
  • Wattage increases with the weight and size of the tires used.

Note: While cars may never be fully-powered by their wheels, it provides an avenue for energy generation. More research should be done into its potential application on other objects as well.

Organizational stakeholders include University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Engineering’s researchers, automobile industry science experts, automation industry, cities (as part of an energy conservation policy).

First 3 steps in deploying the technology
a. Identifying best set of vehicles in different range of uses (personal, commercial, etc) to install this technology onto vehicles.
b. Track and compare amount of power generated by each type of vehicle.c. Identify possible areas of improvement and sell technology to other potential interested parties.

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