The automobile industry appears to be one of the slower ones in improving the existing design to incorporate energy-saving developments. But in reality, the lag we see in the latest development being implemented in cars is just an illusion. Car manufacturers and designers are always over their heels looking for some new stuff. Any viable product is immediately patented and incorporated in this cut-throat competitive industry.
A group of University of Wisconsin-Madison students realized a fundamental fact that the car loses a lot of energy due to the friction resulting with the ground. They realized that if they want to improve the energy loss associated with the movement of a car, they need to reduce these frictional losses by recouping some of the energy back. How do we achieve that? With nano-generators of course.
The team developed the nanogenerators on a toy jeep and demonstrated it in their labs. The thing with Jeeps is that their tyre surface area is quite large, so the generated power is substantial. The researchers hope that this technology can be incorporated into real-life vehicles shortly.
Xudong Wang, the professor of Materials Science and Engineering department, is involved in the project heavily. He says that the frictional losses amount to a significant 10 percent of the total fuel consumption of an automobile. These losses, though heavy, provide a window of opportunity to the engineers to improve the efficiency. Their material is based on how a pair of materials generate static current when they come into contact with each other. It is known as the triboelectric effect that is being used nowadays for innovative approaches like electricity generating touchscreens and line of clothing.
To demonstrate this technology, he attached some LEDs to the jeep, and while moving, the lights went repeatedly on and off. It shows that despite the electric imbalance, this hitherto energy could be used for powering the batteries of the car and saving precious fuel. As expected, the amount of energy generated was directly proportional to the speed and weight of the car. Big cars like trucks, vans, rapid transport buses could benefit a lot from the technology!
What’s your say? Let us know in the comments section