April 10, 2009 The United States has about 250 million registered vehicles, which adds up to a lot of pollution and burning of fossil fuels. New Energy Technologies, Inc. prefers to look at it another way, however – they see those 250 million vehicles as a potential energy source and have developed a prototype engineered to harness some of the kinetic energy being generated, and wasted, by moving cars and light vehicles.

The company’s MotionPower system is designed to trap small amounts of kinetic energy drivers generate simply by driving over the energy-capturing device. Having successfully engineered and built the first prototype, New Energy engineers are now working to optimize the efficiency of the MotionPower device ahead of installations at high traffic locations, such as tollbooths, traffic intersections, rest areas, travel plazas, restaurant and bank drive-thrus, border crossings, and neighborhoods with traffic calming zones.

Once installed, engineers anticipate that the devices may be used to augment or replace conventional electricity supplies used to power roadway signs, street and building lights, storage systems for back-up and emergency power, and other electronics, appliances and devices in homes and businesses.

New Energy is a little coy about discussing how the system works or the expected output. The prototype’s modular design, however, means that the MotionPower system can be customized, depending on site conditions, to maximize power output. According to New Energy, the device is easy to install, has been engineered in such a way that it can be easily manufactured and is resistant to damage from vehicles, road debris or weather.

Engineers are also working to ensure that the system can adapt to the unique characteristics of different vehicles to optimize the amount of energy captured and reduce, or avoid, any adverse effects on safety, passenger comfort and stability of cargo.

With transportation being one of the "big three" when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, any system that helps improve energy efficiency and cut emissions is beneficial to the environment. As well, as vehicles generating kinetic energy become greener, so does the MotionPower system. We’ll be watching with interest to see if the technology can make the leap from prototype to real world implementation.

Darren Quick