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Promising tests for MotionPower system to generate electricity from traffic


October 21, 2009

The original MotionPower prototype undergoing testing at a Burger King drive-thru

The original MotionPower prototype undergoing testing at a Burger King drive-thru

Apparently, the ongoing testing of the MotionPower system for generating electricity from the movement of cars and light trucks - as reported here previously - is paying dividends. New Energy, the company developing the technology, reports it can produce a 25-fold increase in the system’s capacity to capture kinetic energy from moving vehicles, bringing the commercialization of the MotionPower system another step closer to reality.

In addition to the increased energy output, the next generation MotionPower prototype also includes several advances to increase the durability of the system, as well as lower its maintenance costs. These latest refinements maximize the amount of electricity generated without disrupting the driver or vehicle or robbing a vehicle of the energy it needs to accelerate. This is because the system is designed to be installed in locations where vehicles are required to reduce speed, such as toll plazas, rest areas and drive-thrus, meaning the system only makes use of vehicle energy that would be required to slow down.

Key to the anticipated 25-fold increase in capacity over the original prototype are design enhancements to an energy buffer and storage device inside the system.

This energy buffer-storage apparatus is used in the MotionPower system as an efficient capture device for energy that can otherwise be lost during short ‘impulse’ loading – the event that occurs when a car quickly drives over the MotionPower device to create an immediate burst of energy. Engineers are also modifying the design to better manage ‘torque’ impulses created by a vehicle’s weight and rolling kinetic energy as it passes over the device.

Meanwhile, improvements to the MotionPower system’s energy buffer-storage device include the optimization of the level of energy captured and delivered, optimization of the energy storage per unit weight, and a reduction in the friction drag of the device.

The breakthrough means the day is getting closer when we can expect to see roadway signs, street and building lights, storage systems for back-up and emergency power, and even devices used in homes and businesses powered by the MotionPower technology.

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick

Brilliant idea!

Andrew McGoey

Finally, someone has realized these only make sense for use in areas where the car was required to slow down anyway, using brake power or throttle-off. This way the device helps the car slow down by stealing some of its kinetic energy without penalty.

Would love to see them everywhere... toll booths, drivethrough windows, deceleration off-ramps, stop signs. They could even be used on regular roadways where the speed limits drops from, say, 55mph to 35 mph to help power some other roadway signage.

Great job!


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