While Toyota took out the Tokachi 24-Hour Race in 2007 with a Supra HV-R hybrid race car
featuring a quick-charging supercapacitor-based regenerative braking system, battery storage has so far been the norm for these systems in production vehicles. Now Mazda is charging things up with its new "i-ELOOP" system intended for internal combustion engine-powered vehicles. The i-ELOOP is billed as the world's first passenger vehicle regenerative braking system that uses a capacitor in place of rechargeable batteries to temporarily store energy captured from braking.
Military technology has created some fearsome weapons, such as the 5,000 lb GBU-28 Deep Throat
bunker buster, 15,000 lb BLU-82 Daisycutter
, 15,650 lb Russian ATBIP
(Aviation Thermobaric Bomb of Increased Power), 22,000 lb Grand Slam earthquake bomb
, and the 22,600 lb GBU-43 MOAB
(Massive Ordnance Air Blast), but if you were hiding under 50 meters of hardened concrete, none of them were going to bother you. Not any more! The U.S. Air Force has just taken delivery of the first GBU-57A/B (Massive Ordnance Penetrator)
. It weighs 30,000 lb and will penetrate 200 ft of hardened concrete BEFORE it goes off. If you are reading this from an underground nuclear facility in Iran or North Korea, might we suggest some extended sick leave is (or soon will be) in order.
Can you imagine the power of 50,000 steps a day? Well, Laurence Kembell-Cook, the director of Pavegen Systems imagined it and created Pavegen tiles - a low carbon solution that aims to bring kinetic energy harvesting
to the streets. Not surprisingly, the tile is receiving a great deal of attention as a solution for power-hungry cities with a lot of walking traffic.
Gas/electric hybrid vehicles tend to be pricier than their conventional counterparts, and many people still worry about the limited range of all-electrics. If you want to move away from purely petrol-powered vehicles, though, is there any alternative? The four-company Flybus consortium would definitely say there is. It recently rigged up a bus with a prototype flywheel-based energy recover system, that stores the energy that would be wasted when the vehicle brakes, then returns that energy to the drivetrain when the bus accelerates. The researchers claim that it could deliver hybrid-like fuel economy, at a fraction of the price.
In order to help boost their range, many electric and hybrid cars employ regenerative technology where braking energy is stored in the battery instead of simply being wasted. This idea can also be applied to electric-assist bikes
, but what about bicycles of the plain old human-powered variety? Isn't it a shame that after having built up some good momentum, you just have to write it all off once you stop? Maxwell von Stein, a student at New York City's Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, thought so. As his senior project, he recently rigged up a flywheel to an existing bicycle, in order to harness the energy that's lost during braking. That energy can then be used to boost the bike when needed.
Heading away from the use of polluting fossil fuels towards sustainable clean energy, we are discovering more and more novel ways to use
the wind. Even though solar panels have become almost commonplace, we're still seeing the technology being pushed into new ground
. More projects are surfacing that harvest energy from the oceans
. Meanwhile, we're also coming up with inventive ways to monitor
pollution. Now an initiative from Mario Caceres and Cristian Canonico of the Influx Studio in Paris, working with SHIFTboston, is looking to roll out a man-made forest of air-cleaning Treepods throughout Boston ... which are powered by solar and kinetic energy.
The most commonly used form of regenerative braking is where a vehicle’s electric motor is used as an electric generator to capture the vehicle’s kinetic energy, which is otherwise lost as heat when braking. The generator converts the kinetic energy into electricity that is then fed back into the vehicle’s battery pack where it is stored for later use. New research suggests that pneumatic or air hybrids that instead store the energy as compressed air would be much cheaper to produce than the current crop of EVs and battery-electric hybrids and could halve the fuel consumption of ICE powered vehicles.
are an increasingly popular way to generate clean energy with large-scale wind farms
springing up all over the world. However, many residents near proposed wind farm sites have raised concerns over the aesthetics and the low frequency vibrations they claim are generated by wind turbines. An interesting Windstalk concept devised by New York design firm Atelier DNA could overcome both these problems while still allowing a comparable amount of electricity to be generated by the wind.
A number of kinetic energy chargers have been hitting the market in recent years including the nPower PEG
. Researchers have also been working to improve the technology, developing such devices as the Kinetic Energy Cell
and a tiny generator
that derives electrical energy from the vibrations and movements that occur within its environment. Now Brother Industries Ltd., a company better known for its printers, has put the technology into a form factor that should prove much more versatile – a battery. Its Vibration Energy Cell batteries are deigned to replace AA or AAA batteries in some low power devices that can then be powered with a shake.
When reporting on the BunBun
human-powered flashlight back in March, Gizmag's Rick Martin mused on the potential for putting a similar charging mechanism into skipping rope handles... which is just what Kyung Guk Lee has done with this design concept. The e-rope lets you recharge your AA batteries while you skip your way to better health.