Imagine you could recapture some of the energy lost through your tires whenever you go for a drive.

The tire companies are working on it and the latest to unveil a promising tire energy regeneration concept is Sumitomo.

Working with researchers from Kansai University in Osaka, Japan, Sumitomo has developed a concept tire that recaptures and stores static electricity generated from the rotation of a tire.

Sumitomo electricity-generating tire concept

Sumitomo electricity-generating tire concept

A process known as frictional charging, or the triboelectric effect, causes static electricity to form each time a tire's footprint deforms as it rolls down the road. Sumitomo's concept tire features a device known as a harvester that recaptures this electricity.

The device consists of two elements with a charging film with opposite polarity positioned on the inside surface of the tire. As the tire deforms, these come into contact and the static electricity generated is recaptured and transferred to a conductive layer. The recaptured energy could then be used to power electrical devices within the car, just like brake energy regeneration is used today.

We're not talking huge amounts of electricity here, but nevertheless there are very practical applications. Sumitomo suggested the electricity could be used to power sensors that normally rely on batteries that need replacement, such as a tire pressure monitor. No word yet when we might see the technology ready for production, however.