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New Energy’s Technology for Generating Electricity from Movement of Cars Tested at Burger King

New Energy Technology successfully conducted durability field-tests of its prototype MotionPower technology for generating electricity from the motion of cars and light trucks at a Burger King restaurant in Hillside, New Jersey over the Labor Day weekend.

Motionpower
Rendering of proposed MotionPower system. The rolling motion of the vehicle depresses a series of actuators that rotate a proprietary generation device. Click to enlarge.

The roadway-based Motion Power System, when used in traffic control areas where automobiles decelerate for safety reasons, converts some of the car’s excess rolling kinetic energy into electrical energy. While the automobile is braking it continues to roll. The Motion Power System is designed to minimize any increases in tire rolling resistance. Excess automobile rolling energy and tire force (due to the cars weight) is used to depress an actuator that rotates a proprietary electrical generation device to generate power. Vehicles with hybrid regenerative braking systems still capture their own braking energy; the excess rolling energy is captured and stored for later use by the Motion Power system owner.

In addition to tests conducted at Burger King, New Energy is undertaking additional durability testing of the prototype mechanical MotionPower system for cars and light trucks in the upcoming weeks at the Four Seasons Washington, DC and at the Holiday Inn Express Baltimore.

New Energy suggests that once fully optimized and installed, MotionPower devices may be used to augment or replace conventional electrical supplies for powering roadway signs, street and building lights, storage systems for back-up and emergency power, and other electronics, appliances, and even devices used in homes and businesses.

Comments

paulw

Hey, they are stealing energy from my hybrid regenerative braking system.

Roy Davis

In theory, they are "stealing" from the gas tank of everyone who rolls over their device, but what is better: to throw the energy away as heat, or to have it converted to something useful? As paulw says above, they may actually be taking away from his regen braking, but probably not much (and maybe even zero) depending on the type of hybrid system.

Seems to me this system would be ideal for interstate tollways like the Pennsylvania Turnpike or around Chicago where you have to slow down to go through the toll gate - save some miniscule wear-and-tear on your brakes and recover energy at the same time.

I'd like to see a cost tradeoff study though. The hardware isn't free, and the energy source is sporadic.

paulw

For cars that do not have regenerative braking this system may be a worthwhile idea. They are recovering the kinetic energy of the vehicle that is normally lost as heat in the brakes. However, as hybrid and electric cars become more prevalent, this becomes a horrible idea. Regenerative braking is very efficient and can recover as much as 80% of the vehicles kinetic energy. The law of Conservation of Energy tells us that energy is conserved. If they are recovering all of the vehicles kinetic energy, then there is no remaining kinetic energy for regenerative braking to recover. For electric cars that already have range issues, this system would reduce the range of your electric car. For hybrid cars, this system would decrease your MPG.

Henry Gibson

More energy would be saved if the drive-throughs used moving belts with or without the engines running for air-conditioning. Why not have charging rails so that patrons can get a quick charge for their battery. ..HG..

Ken

Similar devices have been tried in the UK. And probably other places.

In the UK I believe the rather infuriating scheme was that the device would power a speed radar and camera on rural roads. Then you got a citation produced from your own power.

Oy veh!

There are several drawbacks.

A rather heavy device, probably not too reliable, and a below road installation is needed. The energy captured is very intermittent; cars won't move smoothly by at uniform intervals.

Those pulses may or may not be stored in batteries, but ultimately it must be used. Either by nearby devices or converted to a nice AC form and fed to the grid.

Like wave power, this will be just right in a few places. Then if those places don't already have cheap grid power you win.

ToppaTom

I'm with Ken.
A limited usage, but reasonable technology for a few places.

Mayby on long downgrades in the mountains where HEVs might be unable to use all the energy or even the high power.

Maybe not on all lanes.

It could reduce brake wear on cars and trucks and even risks due to brake failure - but it must be robust.

kelly

Posting a article about generating electricity without numbers(volts, amps, watts) is meaningless.

kelly

Could a mechanical engineer check this:

One horse-power = 550 foot-pounds per second.

If a 3,300 pound vehicle rose two inches (1/6 foot) crossing the Motion Power System (MPS), that would be 550 foot-pounds of energy.

If 60 of these vehicles passed the Burger King drive-up window/MPS in one minute and generated 100% electricity, that would be one horse-power for a minute.

It would also be very fast service.


kelly

NET's technical director is listed in Forbes, having received $18,262 in 2008 - http://people.forbes.com/profile/alastair-k-livesey/59526

Engineer-Poet

That looks accurate, Kelly.

On the other hand, a more likely rate is 1 vehicle per minute.  Figure 12.5 watts.

If you really wanted energy efficiency, the drive-through could be combined with the towing mechanism of a car wash.  Your braking energy from pulling into the drive is stored hydraulically, and used to move the car up to the ordering station and the windows.  It might be necessary to eliminate curves in the system, but allowing engines to be turned off would save a lot of fuel.

paulw

Kelly, If the vehicle compressed an actuator with 3300 lb of force , 2 in , every second, it would indeed equal 1 hp. However, to get a ball park number for the energy this system could recover we need to make some assumptions. First let’s assume that the system provides 100% of the decelerating force on the vehicle and the device recovers 100% of the Kinetic Energy. Next let’s assume a 3300 lb vehicle is decelerated from 60mph to 20mph (40 mph delta) over the device. Kinetic Energy = ½* mass*Velocity^2. Converting units to Slugs (mass) and ft/s (velocity) produces 176,364 ft-lb of energy = .066 Kilowatt-hours. A kilowatt-hours goes for about $0.12, retail. That equals $.008 per vehicle.

I doubt if the device, installed in a burger king drive-through, decelerates the vehicle from 60mph to 20mph. If the driver has to depress the gas pedal to get over the device, then they are using your expensive gasoline to generate electricity in a very inefficient way.

Henry Gibson

The vehicle would have to sink two inches. You have calculated the futility of such devices. Putting in a few more compact fluorescent bulbs would be more productive. Or just turn off a few lights. A hundred watts is more than one/eighth of a horsepower. A horse-power is about 4000 gallons of water a minute falling over a one foot fall. ..HG..

kelly

Engineer-Poet, paulw, GH,

Thanks for the rechecking. Their website had no numbers either and half the Board of Directors are immigration and securities lawyers. It also mentioned transparent PV windows.

Engineer-Poet

If the device decelerated the vehicle from 12 MPH to zero, it would capture 21.6 kJ before losses.  That's 6 Wh.  If it takes 120 Wh to pull the vehicle 1 mile at minimal speed, that's good for about 1/20 of a mile or 260 feet.  It might work.

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