Saturday, December 17, 2005

Ramp creates power as cars pass

BBC reported A road ramp that uses passing cars to generate power has been developed.

Flashlights that you shake are not the only way to get power. Now having a car drive over a ramp and push it down generates power.
Dorset inventor Peter Hughes' Electro-Kinetic Road Ramp creates around 10kW of power each time a car drives over its metal plates. More than 200 local authorities had expressed an interest in ordering the £25,000 ramps to power their traffic lights and road signs, Mr Hughes said.
Somehow I suspect the wear and tear of having the ramp bouncing up and down is going to make that uneconomical. Also do you realize that the energy you "create" with this system is going to come from decreased gas mileage by the drivers driving over the ramp. According to Conservation of energy "the total inflow of energy into a system must equal the total outflow of energy from the system, plus the change in the energy contained within the system. In other words, energy can be converted from one form to another, but it cannot be created or destroyed." So the engines in the cars must not only push the cars on a horizontal plane, but must also now provide the energy to push down your ramp, increasing the work they must do to propel the car a certain distance, and therefore decreasing it's gas milage, increasing the petroleum demands in your country, increasing your contributions to the supposed Global Warming. Have you considered solar cells or wind energy devices?
Around 300 jobs are due to be created in Somerset for a production run of 2,000 ramps next year. Plates in the ramp move up and down as vehicles pass over them, driving a generator. "The ramp is silent, comfortable and safe for vehicles," Mr Hughes said.
I really question the silent claim, and think what it would do to tires if someone went the wrong way.
Depending on the weight of the vehicle passing overhead, between five and 50kW can be generated. The prototype was created and tested at Hughes Research unit at the Westland Helicopter base in Somerset, at a cost of £1m. The concept has been developed by Dorset-based Mr Hughes over the past 12 years. He recently approached councils across the country with the final patented project.

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