The Electro-Kinetic Road Ramp, Environmentally Friendly Engineering

Lately we have been uber-enviro-nerds with the talk of wind turbines, deep lake cooling and environmentally friendly roller coasters. I just felt the need to put up another nifty energy saving device that was invented by a Bloke from the UK named Peter Hughes. He has created a ramp that absorbs kinetic energy from breaking or slowing down while driving your car over regular roadways. The idea is simple, use the cars wasted kinetic energy to power the streetlights and stoplights. There are a series of plates installed under the road which the cars will drive over, more than likely around stop lights or other areas where the traffic will be slowed. The weight of the car slightly shifts the plates, causing kinetic energy to be created. The energy is stored and then used to power whatever. It is better described on the official site, so I will just do you a favor and quote it here.
The ramp is unobtrusive, silent in operation, causes no discomfort to the vehicles occupants and is entirely safe in operation. The Ramp is designed to require the minimum of maintenance and may be used for generating electricity to power street lighting, traffic lights, road signs, with the surplus being fed into the national grid. It also has the capability to store electricity within a storage battery facility.
I also found a video that you can watch that shows this in action. [youtube]uA0aiKFMSac[/youtube] I have high hopes for this technology; it is a very smart design and easily implemented for almost any roadway. The amount of energy spent operating the lights for roadways may not be much in comparison to other utilities we expect in our daily lives but this simple innovation will hopefully lead the way in other inventions to lessen our dependence on fossil fuels and ultimately reduce the amount of pollution because of this. I think this technology is only currently being implemented in the UK but hopefully American cities will become aware of this power creating device and take advantage of it's obvious benefits. Also, since America is the largest contributor to pollution world wide, it couldn't hurt to try to change the image for the better by fully embracing any new technology that could possibly make a worthwhile difference.

  1. Interesting, although the costs to install them probably negates the savings the devices give by not using electricity.

    D WallZ
    May 15th, 2007 at 10:47 am
  2. But it doesn’t, on the site they said that the savings will outweigh the initial costs.

    May 15th, 2007 at 11:48 am
  3. Long run savings yes, but how much are those intial costs. If the initial cost is 3 billion and savings will only happen in 10 years it doesnt make much sense. People think in the short run usually.

    D WallZ
    May 15th, 2007 at 6:38 pm
  4. Without any numbers, it’s hard to say anything about costs. People think in the short run, but most municipalities think ahead at least a decade when making road infrastructure decisions.

    Something like this is only really useful in situations where cars would otherwise be hitting the breaks. Hybrids don’t waste nearly as much power as normal cars when breaking, but still don’t recapture 100 percent, so this could still be useful even if everyone drove Priuses.

    May 15th, 2007 at 8:23 pm
  5. Creating “Free” Electricity is not the problem, keeping it free is. Trying to watch football on a TV powered by intermittent bursts of 10Kw takes all the fun out of it. To provide a constant supply electrical energy storage batteries would be needed and thats where the idea fails. Once you put all that “free” electricity in a lead acid battery it’ll cost 4-6 times as much per Kwh to get it back than it would if you paid for it directly from the grid. For example; a $100.00 33AH lead acid battery provides 400 watts per discharge multiplied by 250 battery life cycles equals 60 cents per Kwh verses 10 cents per Kwh from the grid.

    Jeff Meuse
    August 17th, 2007 at 10:25 pm
  6. The above example is incorrect, a $60.00 (not $100.00) 33 AH rechargable lead acid battery provides 400 watts per discharge multiplied by a 250 battery life cycle equals 60 cents per Kwh verses 10 cents per Kwh from the grid.

    Jeff Meuse
    August 17th, 2007 at 10:48 pm

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