New Energy Technology, Inc. (NET) has created a novel method for generating electricity using existing vehicles by way of its MotionPower™ System. “The MotionPower™ system harvests the “kinetic” or “motion” energy of cars, trucks, buses, and heavy commercial vehicles when they slow down before coming to a stop,” explained John Conklin, president and CEO of New Energy Technologies, Inc. “MotionPower™ converts this captured energy into electricity.”

These vehicles’ tires depress a series of small rumble strip-like treadles, which in turn rotate patented electrical generation “devices” that convert the captured energy into electricity. In the demonstrations, this energy powered a series of brightly illuminated lights for the drivers – evidence that it works, and a step up from losing energy as heat or friction.

NET is touting the energy harvested as clean green electricity and hoping to mitigate the effects of emissions contributed by the 250 million cars on American roads. The device can be used to either add to or replace conventional electrical supplies for powering roadway signs, street and building lights, emergency power, and the like.

Mark Jamison, the mayor of Roanoke, VA believes the system will “…offset the city’s cost of operating traffic control devices, such as traffic signals and street lights… [and] has the potential to provide a more sustainable environment, while simultaneously conserving strained budgets of cities across the nation.”

The company also has ambitions to power devices in homes and businesses, which makes for a rosy future when coupled with other alternative sources of energy.

The MotionPower™ Design

The MotionPower™ Express was designed for installation in places where vehicles travel over 15 mph with many stops, such as parking lots, exit ramps, toll booths, and travel plazas. A system experiencing traffic patterns similar to the demonstration could produce enough juice to power the lights in an American home, or power a 150 square foot electronic billboard for an entire day, according to the press release.

Mr. Conklin was quoted:

“The MotionPower™-Express basis system is designed to be cost and power output competitive to a 4kW solar PV system. MotionPower™ has the unique feature of being modular and scalable (power greater than or less than the 4kW basic system) to accommodate specific, or customized, applications.”

The goal seems to be to collect the energy of around 300 automobiles traveling at approximately 15 MPH. When they come to a stop, enough kinetic energy is dissipated to generate electricity to light up 0.12 homes. A 4kW Solar PV system lights approximately 0.13 homes. NET’s goal is for its system to eventually outperform the traditional 4kW solar PV system.

The design can be custom-built to varying lengths and is built to have a very low profile in order to reduce passenger discomfort. It can also be designed in accordance to the energy needs of the particular application in mind. Installation costs will be forthcoming; earlier estimates were $16K to $20K, depending on the design. The materials used include various metal alloys, plastics, composites, PVC, and recycled and recyclable materials, according to Mr. Conklin. In short, materials which are sturdy and resistant to damage from vehicles, road debris, and weather.

Have No Fear of Kinetic Energy!

A quick review of past articles on this new tech reveals fears from car owners with regenerative braking, but owners of hybrid cars with regenerative braking systems need not fear. Mr. Conklin stated that the MotionPower™ system:

“does not capture energy from regenerative brakes. MotionPower™ harvests kinetic energy (motion energy)… A vehicle operator can use brakes (traditional friction pad or regenerative) while traveling over MotionPower™ if the operator chooses. MotionPower™ continues to produce electricity while a vehicle is braking or decelerating without brakes.”

With demand for energy set to keep increasing, we need good sources of alternative, renewable energy. In the meantime, finding solutions that maximize what we already have is not only logical, but necessary. Residents of Roanoke, let us know what you think in the comments below!

Thanks to John Conklin, President and CEO of New Energy Technologies, Inc., for the interview!

Source | Images: Beckerman PR