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You are here: > News > May 23, 2015; 20:00 GMT

Suggestion: Combine Ricoh's Energy-Generating Rubber with Goodyear's Electricity-Generating Tire Initiative

The "Energy-Generating Rubber" created by Ricoh generates as high a level of electricity while its appearance is a soft and flexible sheet. Maybe Goodyear could put this to good use in their quest for an effective way to generate electricity from the movement of their tires as they go down the road.

by Sterling D. Allan
Pure Energy Systems News

A couple of news stories that have been brought to my attention recently seem like a good fit with each other.

The first story, Goodyear Is Trying to Make an Electricity-Generating Tire, published by Wired on March 12, was brought to my attention by John Kuhles. Here's an excerpt: 

...Engineers have considered other ways of capturing energy from things like the rebound and compression of shock absorbers. Goodyear sees an opportunity to squeeze a little juice out of the tires.

Goodyear, like all tire companies, has spent a lot of time and money developing tires with lower rolling resistance, which helps increase the fuel economy of conventional cars and the range of electric vehicles. Those efforts led Goodyear engineers to wonder if they couldn’t make the tires generate electricity.

The idea behind the BH-03 concept is to capture energy in two ways. First, Goodyear thinks it can take advantage of piezoelectricity, the electric charge that builds up in certain materials as they’re squeezed or pressed. Tires are constantly being deformed as they spin, says Xavier Fraipont, director of consumer tire technology, so why not put that to good use? Piezoelectric materials (quartz, some ceramics, a few kinds of salt) are used in things like electric cigarette lighters, electric guitar pickups and the fuses in rocket-propelled grenades. [...]

Another idea is creating electricity through thermoelectricity, converting variations in temperature into electric voltage. Whether they’re sitting in the sun or spinning on the road, tires generate heat. Goodyear is looking to use thermoelectric materials (like bismuth telluride and tin selenide), to generate electricity from the difference between the hottest and coolest parts of the rubber. Again, the challenge is incorporating those materials without sacrificing elasticity and durability.

If the company engineers figure out how to use a tire to generate electricity, the next step is figuring out the best place to use it. One logical application is using it to power sensors that could be placed within a tire to send information about tire pressure and temperature to the car’s computer and improve performance. To send energy to the battery, Fraipont says engineers could use a connection running from the tire to the hub and on to the battery. Or they could transfer energy with an induction current.

All of this is still in many ways theoretical, as engineers need to determine what the best materials are, how efficiently they’d generate power, how they might be added to a tire and how much weight they might add. There are complications at every turn, so there’s no guarantee the BH-03 concept will make it to market. If it does, it’s probably 10 to 15 years away, and it could look very different from what we see here. [...]

The second story, which seems like a logical match to what Goodyear is looking for, came via "brujnol", today, who gave me a link to a May 18 press release by office imaging equipment company, Ricoh.

"Energy-Generating Rubber" Combines Flexibility and High-Output

Ricoh Co.,Ltd.

TOKYO, May 18, 2015 — Ricoh today announced that it has created a novel flexible material "Energy-Generating Rubber" that converts pressure and vibration into electric energy with high efficiency.

Currently, piezoelectric materials, which generate electricity with mechanical strain, are drawing attention as energy-harvesting materials. Major piezoelectric materials are ceramics and polymers, but they have some deficits which prevent them from wide prevalence.

Piezoelectric ceramics are used for restricted purposes because of their fragility and heavy weight although they generate relatively high electricity. On the other hand, piezoelectric polymers generate very slight electricity although they achieve flexibility by reducing the thickness.

The "Energy-Generating Rubber" created by Ricoh generates as high a level of electricity as ceramics while its appearance is a soft and flexible sheet. Since it overcomes the deficits of previous piezoelectric ceramics and polymers, it is expected to be applied to multiple areas combining the advantages of flexibility and high-output.

Ricoh will advance research in this technology aiming at commercializing the material for various purposes especially flexible sensors. In the future, it will contribute to the coming age of IoT, when various devices are equipped with communication features, by providing a promising energy-generating material.

Ceramics, a major traditional piezoelectric material is routinely used in electronic parts of utility equipment as pressure and vibration sensors. Although it generates enough electricity for those purposes, it has deficits: namely fragility, heavy weight and inclusion of lead. By contrast to ceramics, the “Energy-Generating Rubber” overcomes those deficits. Furthermore, its high durability has been confirmed through durability tests of several million periods.
Polymers, such as PVDF (PolyVinylidene DiFluoride), generate slight electricity although they have flexibility. The “Energy-Generating Rubber” has acquired both sensitivity to light load and durability against heavy load by combining high-output comparable to ceramics and more flexibility than polymers.

In addition, "Energy-Generating Rubber" has advantages in workability and productivity because it is soft, and does not require a high-temperature process like ceramics. Flexible, high-output, durable, workable and productive, “Energy-Generating Rubber” can be installed in various locations and large spaces. It can therefore be used for various purposes in the wider market compared with ceramics and polymers.

The mechanism of the "Energy-Generating Rubber" is not the same as that of previous piezoelectric materials. Ricoh, in collaboration with Tokyo University of Science (Project leader: Associate professor Takahiro Yamamoto), launched mechanism analysis in molecular level using leading computational chemistry. The study results will expand the possibility of the material, and will help development and application to various purposes and areas in the future.

With the advantages of "Energy-Generating Rubber", Ricoh will seek to contribute in the age of IoT, providing innovative solutions with a combination of external technology.

If I get a few minutes, I think I'll try and introduce these two teams to each other, though someone who is more credentialed in the mainstream might have better luck at this. My "fringe" hat is usually an immediate turn-off to mainstreamers, who, ironically, think of themselves as being "outside the box," which they are, compared to most, but nothing compared to the 2 steps ahead "crackpot" technologies we typically associate with.

You know our quote: "He who is one step ahead is a genius. He who is two steps ahead is a crackpot." These two "one step ahead" genius approaches should pair up. Two steps ahead technologies typically are perceived as breaking dogmatic rules of physics, whereas one step ahead technologies merely apply existing(ly recognized) laws in a novel way. 

We like to focus on things that conventional science says would be "impossible" -- not just because we like being rebels to a dogmatic system that is stuck on itself, but mostly because these "impossible" technologies would also be much cheaper once they become available, and thus able to truly bring Power to the People and break the stranglehold of the tyrants who like to dominate people.

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Page composed by Sterling D. Allan
Last updated June 15, 2015




"It is harder to crack a prejudice than an atom." // "I'd rather be an optimist and a fool than a pessimist and right." -- Albert Einstein

ADVISORY: With any technology, you take a high risk to invest significant time or money unless (1) independent testing has thoroughly corroborated the technology, (2) the group involved has intellectual rights to the technology, and (3) the group has the ability to make a success of the endeavor.
All truth passes through three stages:
   First, it is ridiculed;
   Second, it is violently opposed; and
   Third, it is accepted as self-evident.

-- Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)

    "When you're one step ahead
of the crowd you're a genius.
When you're two steps ahead,
you're a crackpot."

-- Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, (Feb. 1998)

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