Harvesting energy through Nanogenerators


Sustainability Problem: Energy

Approximately 10% of the fuel is lost during friction between tires and the ground

Technology: Nanogenerators

In order to address the problem, a professor at UW-Madison, Pudong Wang, created a technology that collects and reuses the energy lost during friction. He first tested this technology on a toy car to see if through friction the toy car would power LEDs. He concluded that it is possible to regain the energy that is lost during driving.

  • A new nanogenerator (single-electrode turboelectric nanogenerator (S-TENG)) to improve fuel efficiency, to regain what is lost
    • application of electrodes on the tires, and when this comes in contact with the ground, it produces an electrical charge
  • The energy harnessed is directly related to the weight and speed of the car, thus the energy saved by a car will differ
  • This can make current fuel-run car models more efficient, as well as help, improve electric vehicle batteries



  • Automobile manufacturers who want to improve fuel efficiency and improve mileage on electric vehicles
  • Tire companies
  • Consumers
  • Investors

How to deploy this technology:

  • Carry out additional trials, this time with actual cars
  • Work with engineers and tire companies to redesign and incorporate the technology
  • Determine the vehicle manufacturers that are interested in implementing the tires that include the S-TENG technology



2 thoughts on “Harvesting energy through Nanogenerators

  1. This is a great efficiency gain technology and so I always ask a really basic question when I see something new come along, “why hasn’t this happened yet?” Does it not produce enough energy to offset the costs of engineering, installation, maintenance? Is it the sort of thing that should never be seen by the light of day for consumers (think to complicated and if in service of the vehicle battery then why does the driver care) and so in trying to do so it destroys the tech before launch? Is the tech viable in other ways or other markets that makes more sense for return on investments?

    I’ve seen some interesting technology related to tires recently but hope to see more like this come to the market, thanks for sharing.


  2. Operation of S-TENGs on the wheels of a toy car was demonstrated. When the vehicle was moving on the ground, the S-TENG generated electricity could instantaneously power 6 commercial green LEDs without any energy storage component. This is really a promising technique to reuse the energy!


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