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Harness the power from vehicles on the roads

Each vehicle that drives down the road is producing power. It's a matter of collecting or harnessing the power from the vehicle and relaying to a power plant. There are hundreds of thousands of vehicles on the roads, wheels turning, alternaters charging, why not harness this power and use it as renewable energy that can power lights, or other devices?

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Idea#25

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Comments

  1. Comment
    tihamer.toth-fejel

    This is *not* a good idea, because of simple physics. The energy needed to move a car is not free, but comes from the gasoline used to move the car in the first place.

    In other words, any time you take energy from the automobile, using *any* method (hydraulic bumps on the road, windmills on the hood, etc.), you will be reducing the fuel efficiency of the car (in terms of fewer miles per gallon).

    The only justification for this scheme is if you're putting speed bumps in the road to slow cars down anyway, and you save them the use of their brakes (though most people (i.e. people who don't drive Jeeps) slow down before speed bumps in dread fear that the car will move up and down).

    The greenlaunch scheme is dumb and misleading. "30kw of *green* energy"? Getting energy from one of the least efficient energy mechanisms in exisitence--the internal combustion engine -- indirectly, with additional inefficiencies is *not* green(ok, steam engines were probably worse).

    DOE should remove these "quasi-perpetual machine" type schemes from consideration. They make corn-based ethanol look completely legitimate in comparision.

  2. Comment
    Rene Sugar

    After 100 years of improvement by people with a solid understanding of physics, an internal combustion engine still loses 62.4 percent of the fuel's energy.

    Technion-Israel Institute of Technology is testing the idea of generating electricity from piezoelectric crystals embedded in asphalt on a road in Israel.

    Like anything else, if it fails testing, it won't be used. Labeling it as useless before the test results are in is not productive.

    http://gas2.org/2009/01/05/piezoelectric-road-produces-electricity-from-traffic/

    "created by engineers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, uses piezoelectric crystals embedded in the asphalt to generate up to 400 kilowatts of energy from a 1 kilometer stretch, enough to run eight electric cars."

    "The new surface is scheduled to be tested in Northern Israel later this month and, if successful, may be rolled out on a larger scale in the UK and Ireland."

    http://www.eta.co.uk/2008/12/11/roads-can-produce-electricity

    "Roads can produce electricity

    Thursday, 11th December, 2008

    A new type of road being developed in Israel uses crystals embedded in the asphalt to turn the vibration caused by cars into electricity.

    Engineers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology claim the piezoelectric crystals can produce up to 400 kilowatts from a 1-kilometre stretch of dual carriageway. The system is to be tested on a 100-metre stretch of road in northern Israel in January."

    http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/transportation/consumer_tips/vehicle_energy_losses.html

    "Engine Losses - 62.4 percent

    In gasoline-powered vehicles, over 62 percent of the fuel's energy is lost in the internal combustion engine (ICE). ICE engines are very inefficient at converting the fuel's chemical energy to mechanical energy, losing energy to engine friction, pumping air into and out of the engine, and wasted heat."

  3. Comment
    gpbarr

    I'm not sure why any effort should be expended in a direction that ultimately increases dependence on the automobile and the highway system. I'd much rather see that investment put into increasing mass tranportation alternatives.

  4. Comment
    esurferbob

    I agree with tihamer.toth-fejel, this is a "quasi-perpetual machine" type scheme. We might as well consider some other "pie in the sky schemes" like putting roofs over all the highways, roofs with 1) photovoltaic solar panels, 2) thermocouples built into the solar heated and the shaded, ambient air cooled undersides to convert some of the waste heat to electricity and 3) little water wheel hydroelectric generators every one hundred feet or so to gain some power from the rainwater runoff when the sun isn't shining. Ah, what to do with snow or freezing rain? Somehow save them for summer cooling? I give these ideas freely to the world because they are clearly impractical. ;^)

  5. Comment
    Rene Sugar

    Innowattech's technology is using energy already being transferred to the road surface; it is not taking away energy from vehicles traveling over the road.

    UW-Madison is also using piezoelectric effect to use waste energy.

    http://www.innowattech.co.il/technology.aspx

    Innowattech's solution - The Innowattech Piezo Electric Generator (IPEG™) The basis for the system is the patented new breed of piezoelectric generators (IPEG™) developed by . They have unique abilities to harvest energy from weight, motion, vibration and temperature changes.

    There are specific generators for roadways, railways, runways and pedestrians.

    http://www.usnews.com/science/articles/2010/03/15/scavenging-energy-waste-to-turn-water-into-hydrogen-fuel.html

    "The researchers, led by UW-Madison geologist and crystal specialist Huifang Xu, grew nanocrystals of two common crystals, zinc oxide and barium titanate, and placed them in water. When pulsed with ultrasonic vibrations, the nanofibers flexed and catalyzed a chemical reaction to split the water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen.

    When the fibers bend, asymmetries in their crystal structures generate positive and negative charges and create an electrical potential. This phenomenon, called the piezoelectric effect, has been well known in certain crystals for more than a century and is the driving force behind quartz clocks and other applications."

  6. Comment
    tihamer.toth-fejel

    Thanks, esurferbob, for the support.

    Actually, your idea of putting a roof over the road and covering it with solar cells *would* work pretty well, in terms of physics. It would even keep the roads free of snow and blinding sun. Unfortunately, it would also be prohibitively expensive, so it is impracticle. OTOH, if we could *pave* the roads with self-assembling solar cells...that wouldn't steal energy from the cars, and it might even power them. It all depends on cost and durability, both of which currently put such an idea firmly into the science fiction realm.

    OTOH, 20 years ago, an 8GB "thumb drive" that plugs into your "laptop" to back up a month's worth of music was just as crazy (if not worse).