Posting in Cities
A Maryland-based start-up is harnessing the excess kinetic energy of cars passing over speed bumps with a prototype of its new technology.
They might be an impedance to some drivers, but the lowly speed bump could help save the planet. New Energy Technologies, a Maryland-based energy start-up, has devised new technology to harness the excess kinetic energy of cars passing over them.
The most recent MotionPower prototype was field tested in the city of Roanoke, Virginia, two weekends ago in October. Attendees at a weekend circus and gun show were given a live demonstration of the technology as they exited the Roanoke Civic Center.
The decelerating vehicles powered a small sign while passing over the MotionPower speed bump. It works by compressing actuators that are connected to a generator. A separate edition is being designed for heavy trucks.
New Energy Technologies CEO Meetesh Patel previously told CBS Business Network that each unit would cost somewhere between US$1,500 to $2,000 and provide payback within two to three years.
New Energy Technologies has been field-testing MotionPower for over a year now, and engineers have been collecting data for an eventual commercial deployment. One test took place at a Burger King drive-through.
It is targeting installations in parking lots, border crossings, exit ramps, neighborhoods with traffic calming zones, rest areas, toll booths, and travel plazas. Electricity would power roadway signs, street and building lights, storage systems for back-up and emergency power, the company says.
Similar solutions are being tested in Europe. An inventor in the United Kingdom has devised a system of ramps to captured the kinetic energy of vehicles, and a nightclub in Rotterdam, Netherlands, captures the energy expended by people partying up on the dance floor.
Oct 31, 2011
...wouldn't a certain amount of that energy be "stolen" from the vehicle, especially if that vehicle is of a electric or hybrid type with regenerative braking?
I don;t have hard figures BUT... the energy to run this spped bump generator is achieved from the weight of the vehicle crossing over it -more or less the power is derived from gravity. Since the speed bump would exist in these locations anyhow then there is no robbed power - it is in fact gained instead of loss (as compared to a passive speed bump). My bigger question is the longevity issue as this device now has moving parts (at least the one shown in the provided photo). How about snow plow survival and the issue of road salt/sand entering the joints? Will these considerations end up extending the payback time (or even eliminating payback)?
The "power derived from gravity" is merely the energy taken from my vehicle used to go up the bump. Nominally, I'd get that energy back as I proceed down the other side of the bump. I get the feeling we're being sold a perpetual motion machine, or at least a machine that's will be leaching its energy from the vehicles passing over it. Nothing is free.