I dunno

Not convinced about these figures:

The ramps – which cost between £20,000 and £55,000, depending on size – consist of a series of panels set in a pad virtually flush to the road. As the traffic passes over it, the panels go up and down, setting a cog in motion under the road. This then turns a motor, which produces mechanical energy. A steady stream of traffic passing over the bump can generate 10-36kW of power.

The bumps can each produce between £1 and £3.60 of energy an hour for up to 16 hours a day, or between £5,840 and £21,024 a year. Energy not used immediately can be stored or fed into the national grid.

But if true, a very interesting technology.

17 comments on “I dunno

  1. I am told that all the car engines put together produce more energy than all the power stations combined. There ought to be a way to connect all of them to the grid and save us a hell of a lot of money. But perhaps this is not the right way to go about it.

  2. The designer is aware of 1 and 2 and claims that they are situated in the run up to stop signs etc where the car will already be slowing down. Or in speed bumbs, obviously.

  3. So Much for Subtlety…

    Why on earth do you think we have a grid instead of each of us buying a generator?

    We could all power or houses with our car engines if we were so minded, and if we didn’t mind wasting a great deal of money with such an absurdly inefficient system.

    Car engines are the size they are because that size is the size required to drive the car around, and it would be wasteful to haul around a larger unit. But this size is very inefficient for large-scale energy production, in which an enormous power plant works rather better (square-cube rule, etc).

    This method of electricity involves harnessing the kinetic energy of the car (the actual output we have paid to achieve) to generate electricity in very inefficient way. Attaching a generator to the wheels looks reasonable in comparison.

    The sole merit of this system (for the generator) is that someone else is paying for the fuel.

  4. As the traffic passes over it, the panels go up and down, setting a cog in motion under the road.

    So driving will become like it is on Russian roads then.

  5. ref 4- even if the ramps are located before a stop sign the car will have to use more energy than it otherwise would- its just an inefficient means of converting petrol into electricity, where the petrol is paid for by someone else. I have my doubts whether theycould be installed at the costs given, once Traffic management- probably road closure- cabling etc. were included- it won’t be generating 50hz at 250v, so it cant just be connected into the nearest point of the grid. And how would it cope with the widely differing weights of vehicles- I wonder if a machine designed to work under a mini might be vulnerable to breakage by a 40tonne vehicle. What rent do the proposers propose paying to the landowners (highway authority) for the right to carry out their highway robbery?
    Apart from that its worth investigating.

  6. You could probably do something similiar with some sort of mini-turbine built into tunnels and underpasses. I suspect the problem would be: a) making it cost effective and b) didn’t increase the drag on vehicles.

  7. even if the ramps are located before a stop sign the car will have to use more energy than it otherwise would

    No – the point is, as the car slows down, some of its kinetic energy is converted into electricity instead of heating the brake pads as it otherwise would. The only exception is if you’re driving a Prius…

    Agreed about the practicalities though.

  8. It would be far simpler to fix a wee wind-turbine to each car to generate electricity as it goes along, thus displacing some of the petrol it uses. Eh? Eh?

  9. Or how about we set up a bunch of exercise bike connected to generators. Make it mandatory for eveyone to put so much time on the bikes. If you’re oberweight then more time.

    There – we get to solve the obesity epidemic, destroy our reliance on foreign oil AND do it in the most intrusive manner possible, all the while stealing resources from the citizens without actually having to increase taxes.

  10. All this (including the one of hooking up those exercising in gymns) was in a MAD magazine issue when I was in school over 55 years ago.

  11. Gene’s gym idea sounds good actually.
    People in the gym are trying to use up more energy anyway, so why not connect them up to the Sports-hall’s or school’s energy grid.

    Not sure how effective it would be however – cycling machines and rowing ergometers seem only to power their own circuitry. It may well only cover the energy used to run the treadmills, if that.

  12. We could all run out into the street and piddle on the snow, and it would melt. Think of the money we would save on road salting.

  13. Brian – “Why on earth do you think we have a grid instead of each of us buying a generator?”

    Because managing the grid would be very hard.

    “We could all power or houses with our car engines if we were so minded, and if we didn’t mind wasting a great deal of money with such an absurdly inefficient system.”

    “Car engines are the size they are because that size is the size required to drive the car around, and it would be wasteful to haul around a larger unit. But this size is very inefficient for large-scale energy production, in which an enormous power plant works rather better (square-cube rule, etc).”

    I take your point but you miss the obvious – we have paid for our car engines already. We like to drive and so we buy cars. Those cars sit unused most of the time. If we then used them to generate power, we would only be paying for the extra fuel costs and some wear and tear. Not the costs of the engines. (We’d also have to pay for the grid management which would not be trivial). That is not a minor factor in the cost of generation.

    “Attaching a generator to the wheels looks reasonable in comparison.”

    Sure. Stupid system. It would be more viable if we all drove hybrids and had built in generators.

Leave a Reply

Name and email are required. Your email address will not be published.