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English Market Produces Energy With Kinetic Plates

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the parking-power dept.

Power 404

Johnathan Martinez writes "Sainsbury's market in England has installed 'kinetic energy' plates in the parking lot of its store in Gloucester. The plates are an experiment with a newer energy producing technology. The plates create as much as 30 kWh of energy as cars drive over them. The weight of the cars puts pressure on the plates creating kinetic energy to run a generator. The current is used to power the store and will lower the energy consumption of the market."

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shitfuck (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28370307)

That is all.

useful energy is not free (4, Insightful)

seanadams.com (463190) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370311)

This is just an gas powered electric generator, the likes of which rube goldberg would be proud of. You'd be better off siphoning a thimble of fuel from each car, selling it, and using the proceeds to buy electricity from the utility.

Re:useful energy is not free (4, Interesting)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370351)

Not to mention that's a crap ton of energy per car:

The plates create as much as 30 kWh of energy as cars drive over them.

30 kWh is 108 MJ. Say your car weighs 2 tons, well that's 18.1 kN of force it exerts on the ground. So your car would have to push one of these plates down a total of 5.9 kilometers to generate that much energy. Assuming that the plate only moves an inch, that's 238 thousand car/plate crossings to generate the quoted energy.

Re:useful energy is not free (2, Insightful)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370501)

The numbers are bullshit, but so are all these suggestions that the plates are magically causing MORE gas/battery power to be wasted than would happen otherwise.

Re:useful energy is not free (4, Interesting)

terminal.dk (102718) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370721)

If you put the plates on a downhill ramp, then the car need to move vertically anyway.
So instead of having to use the brakes to convert energy into waste heat, they can convert it into electricity.

A Parking house with multiple levels would be perfect if there are different lanes up and down. Or other descending roads.

We have e=m*v^2 - So the faster the plate can be pressed down, the more enery we will get, but there will also be some impact force. So the number can be much lower.

Re:useful energy is not free (4, Informative)

carou (88501) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370525)

Perhaps they only install these at the entrances to the car park, where you expect everybody to be slowing down - the excess kinetic energy might as well be siphoned off somewhere useful rather than being wasted as heat in the brakes.

However, I agree with your analysis that the numbers, as presented, make no sense (and the picture with illustrates the article is only a few mm thick, so 238,000 crossings is probably a rather conservative estimate). Another article [guardian.co.uk] on the topic says "The kinetic road plates are expected to produce 30 kWh of green energy every hour" (so that would just be 30kW, then) but I can guarantee you that a supermarket is not going to get a quarter of a million visitors in an hour (or to put that another way, more than 60 every second).

It's all just meaningless posturing, and it takes attention away from anything which might actually be useful. Any journalist reporting this as a green initiative ought to be ashamed of themselves.

Re:useful energy is not free (1)

the_xaqster (877576) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370645)

But then I didn't see anything in TFA that says 30kWh Per Plate. Install more sets of these round the car park to reduce the number of visits in a hour needed.

Re:useful energy is not free (3, Insightful)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370723)

OK, let's put the cars bumper to bumper at 15km/h (which is about usual for a car park) and assume they're 5m long and have a gap of 3m between them. Any given plate would then have a car moving over it every two seconds, or 1800 times an hour. They're going to have to have 132 plates to generate that amount of power per hour, and realistically they'll need at least twice that many.

Re:useful energy is not free (1)

Digestromath (1190577) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370369)

What if they could hook a device up to your engine block, and siphon off all the stored heat residing inside and use it to heat thier water? Its useful free energy (not withstanding the energy required to build such a system). And it would provide a valueable service.

Re:useful energy is not free (-1)

Kickboy12 (913888) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370421)

You are not stealing any energy from the car at all. This argument is ludicrous. It is using the force of gravity to push down the plates. The friction on this surface would probably be equal to that of the normal pavement. Meaning your car is going to expend this energy anyway. In no way does this actually take any measurable amount of energy from the car itself. This is a very poorly thought out argument in my opinion.

Besides... how efficient is the car-to-pavement transfer of energy anyway? Combustion engines are inherently inefficient to begin with.

Re:useful energy is not free (4, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370441)

You are not stealing any energy from the car at all. This argument is ludicrous. It is using the force of gravity to push down the plates.

The car has to climb on to the plate. It uses energy to do that.

Re:useful energy is not free (0)

Zencyde (850968) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370737)

Oh no, just slant the plate!

/ducks

Re:useful energy is not free (4, Insightful)

Kickboy12 (913888) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370453)

Another Point: You ever driven in a parking lot? Count the number of speed bumps you go over. I wonder how "fuel" the stores are "stealing" from you by making you drive slow over these bumps. Replace those with plates. Might actually get some energy while making people drive slower at the same time. What a concept!

Re:useful energy is not free (2, Insightful)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370739)

The difference there is that the speed bumps don't sink under your car. The only lost energy from driving over a speed bump is the energy absorbed by your shockies as they damp the motion of your suspension. It's still a good point, though - the amount of energy they 'steal' per car is so trivial that no-one will notice. If you were driving on a road made of the things, it'd probably have a measurable effect on fuel usage, though.

Re:useful energy is not free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28370779)

the amount of energy they 'steal' per car is so trivial that no-one will notice.

Any lawyer will notice it and sue the market ;-)

Re:useful energy is not free (1)

tonyr60 (32153) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370465)

You said "push down the plate". And the end of the plate the car has to climb up the distance that it was pushed down. That climb will require a very small amount of gas in the engine, enough to create enough energy to climb out, plus friction losses and the inherint losses in the car engine. My guess is that this system will waste about double the energy a good thermal station would use to generate the same amount of electricity.

Re:useful energy is not free (0)

Kickboy12 (913888) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370495)

How many speed bumps do you drive over in a normal parking lot? By your logic these bumps are stealing your precious fuel. Why not generate some electricity at the same time?

Re:useful energy is not free (2, Insightful)

Unipuma (532655) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370473)

Since this method converts potential energy into kinetic energy (the car pushing down), this means your car will be moving from a higher position to a lower position, losing it's potential energy.

Since your car has to drive out of the 'pit' it was lowered into, when the plate came down, your car has to expend the energy necessary to climb back out of that 'pit'.

So your car is directly providing the energy to power this plate system.

Re:useful energy is not free (1)

snookums (48954) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370523)

You are not stealing any energy from the car at all. This argument is ludicrous. It is using the force of gravity to push down the plates.

If the energy doesn't come from the car, where does it come from? You can't say it comes from gravity, that makes no sense. In order for gravity to do work, the object in question (the car) has to fall through some distance (work = force x displacement). In order to fall, it must have been lifted. How was it lifted? By the engine

Re:useful energy is not free (3, Insightful)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370527)

So it'd be the same as dropping a giant stone on the plate? Free perpetual energy? No? Then where is the energy coming from? Remember those pesky laws that keep perpetual motion machine from working?

The energy doesn't come from gravity but rather from the potential energy of the car via gravity. The car has to gain that energy from the kinetic energy of it's engine somehow since nothing is free.

Let's say the plate is 1cm above the ground with no car on it. The car's engine exert extra energy to raise the car onto that 1cm plate. The plate then falls and takes that energy from the car by dropping it back to it's previous height. Had the plate not been there the car would not have used the gas needed to generate the energy to raise it 1cm against gravity.

Sort of sad how little physics is taught in school nowadays that people actually believe energy can come from essentially nowhere.

Re:useful energy is not free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28370613)

I think the point is you're gonna have to drive over that same surface whether its tarmac, ice cream, or kinetic plates to get to the store anyway, so why not use that to generate energy? Will it take anymore energy than driving into a traditional parking lot?

Re:useful energy is not free (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370673)

*sigh* Like I said before, it's not driving over the surface that generates the energy. It's changing you height compared to your previous surface. The plate is above ground level, regular pavement isn't. Going onto the plate costs extra energy that going down smooth pavement doesn't.

Even if there's a natural upward slope you still lose energy since there's no down slope that usually lets you regain the energy it cost your car to go up the first slope.

Re:useful energy is not free (2, Interesting)

deroby (568773) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370667)

Although I agree with you and all posters above, from what I get from the article this is just (an expensive ?) way to /create/ energy in an extremely inefficient way.

That said, I do wonder if it wouldn't be possible to somehow harvest some "free" energy from such a system, assuming the car-park is BELOW GROUND.

=> assuming the car-park is located below ground, the car will need to drive down a ramp anyway
=> if we replace that ramp with a series of 'steps' that are "pushed up" by an internal spring-system, when in 'neutral', each next step is 10 cm lower than the previous one.
=> the car will arrive at ground level (0), drive on the fist step and the step will "sink" say 10 cm.
=> as a result, the step is now level with the second step, and the car simply drives on it "horizontally"
=> again, step 2 will sink about 10 cm due to the weight of the car, while step 1 veers back up because of the internal springs

rinse & repeat...

I guess it'd probably be 'more efficient' to have 1 giant step that goes down the full 3m or so, but it would make the process more cumbersome (drive on, wait, drive off, wait for platform to rise again etc..), while the 'steps' in fact can simultaneously function as a speed-lowering device (if you drive down to fast, the steps will not have time to be pushed in completely and you're in for a 'shocking' ride).

Off course this still 'steals' away some of the car's fuel as you now need to "drive the whole way down horizontally" instead of just coasting down, but then again at least some of the braking power would be converted to useful energy instead of heat.

just my 2 cents...

Re:useful energy is not free (2, Insightful)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370727)

I agree, it all comes down to how people brake and how much of the energy would have been wasted for braking anyway.

On the other hand hybrid and electric cars have regenerative braking so they even reclaim that energy. Given that they're becoming rather popular there may soon be very few places such a system has any real overall advantage.

Re:useful energy is not free (4, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370437)

This is just an gas powered electric generator, the likes of which rube goldberg would be proud of. You'd be better off siphoning a thimble of fuel from each car, selling it, and using the proceeds to buy electricity from the utility.

True but if you are going to build speed humps and waste energy that way, this may make sense.

Re:useful energy is not free (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370603)

The only energy they can reclaim is that from going up the speed bump and that may be regained when the car goes down the other side of the speed bump (ie: car goes faster as it's downhill). It depends on the normal driving patterns of people (do they hit the brakes at the top of a speedbump?) and the efficiency of that downward energy reclamation.

Re:useful energy is not free (3, Interesting)

Namarrgon (105036) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370671)

They can get energy from the downward motion of the plate on the speedbump as the car drives over the top of it. The car is now a little lower, so that's energy it can't reclaim. This energy would be offset a little by the springs required to push the plate back up again.

They might also be able to gain energy by absorbing some of the forward motion of the car when it hits the speedbump. That would be more in keeping with the usual purpose of speedbumps. Now all we'd need is a speedbump that could smoothly absorb & convert most of the excess forward velocity of the car (in excess of the speed limit, that is), then we could install them in residential suburbs everywhere and power all the streetlights with them.

Not necessarily (1)

RJabelman (550626) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370457)

If the plate's placed at a point in the road where you'd have to brake anyway, the energy's essentially free. It goes from being dissipated in the brakes to collected by the plate.

(Anyone with regenerative brakes can still complain.)

Re:Not necessarily (1)

blogger11 (1561695) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370595)

like a speed bump? SiteList [sitelist.ca]

Re:useful energy is not free (2, Funny)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370491)

You'd be better off siphoning a thimble of fuel from each car, selling it, and using the proceeds to buy electricity from the utility.

Where the hell would you get all those thimbles?

Re:useful energy is not free (1)

AcidPenguin9873 (911493) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370497)

Of course the kinetic energy isn't free, but you're forgetting about how that energy goes to waste when non-hybrid cars brake. In a parking lot, chances are the car is braking and slowing down quite frequently. Also, many parking lots have speed bumps to control speed anyway. Unless every car there is a hybrid that uses regenerative braking to recharge a battery, my bet is that they're harnessing some kinetic energy that would otherwise be completely wasted via braking/slowing for the speed bumps.

Re:useful energy is not free (1)

Mike1024 (184871) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370585)

You'd be better off siphoning a thimble of fuel from each car, selling it, and using the proceeds to buy electricity from the utility.

Plenty of supermarkets ask customers to drive at a low speed in their car parks, and use speed bumps to encourage this.

How is this any different?

If you were going to slow the car down anyway, what does it matter if you get some additional use out of the kinetic energy the car loses?

Re:useful energy is not free (1)

Dutchy Wutchy (547108) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370661)

What some people seem to be forgetting is that a normal road surface is deformed when a car drives over it.

If these "kinetic plates" respond to the weight of a vehicle in the same manner as the traditional road surface, then no new stress is imposed on the vehicle, and energy that would other wise be wasted in the deformation of the road would be put to work driving electrons.

Re:useful energy is not free (1, Informative)

Bazman (4849) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370699)

Nobody seems to have pointed out yet that Sainsbury's also sell fuel, so it's a win for them all round. The execs must have been pissing themselves laughing, "Hey, we've got this idea that we can pass off as 'Green Energy', and will mean our customers will be buying more petrol from our stores! Muaahahaha! Stick another swan on the fire!"

Re:useful energy is not free (1)

MariusBoo (883340) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370761)

Exactly. I'll have to get a bumper sticker that says "in this car we obey the laws of thermodynamics".

Great (1, Flamebait)

drsquare (530038) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370313)

So when you drive in, it drains your battery to power their market. How the fuck is this 'green'?

If I had an electric car (4, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370321)

...I could put these in my driveway, use it to charge the car and never have to buy energy again!

lame? vampiring other people oil? (2, Insightful)

Tei (520358) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370323)

is that energy extracted from the cars? then is not magically created, but just a inefficient way to suck energy from other people use of oil.

Re:lame? vampiring other people oil? (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370483)

Are those plates causing more oil to be consumed than would happen otherwise? Then it is not being magically wasted, but just a reasonable way of getting more energy out of the same use of oil.

Re:lame? vampiring other people oil? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28370611)

Are those plates causing more oil to be consumed than would happen otherwise?

Of course. Energy has to come from somewhere. In order for the plates to be pushed down, the car has to climb up. Granted, this might be as little energy as climbing a kerbstone, it shows how little energy can be gained. It's not free and it's not green but it's publicity.

Re:lame? vampiring other people oil? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370545)

is that energy extracted from the cars? then is not magically created, but just a inefficient way to suck energy from other people use of oil.

It sounds to me (IANAPhysicist) like the energy is already being wasted, this is just using it. It harvests energy by pressing down on the plates, wouldn't the car driving over a strip of pavement use the same energy, except it wouldn't be reharvested at all?

Maybe not vampiring so much as collecting dropped change?

Maybe there's more friction moving over these plates though. In which case I'd say most of the drivers probably waste more energy driving around looking for parking spaces than they've lost to the plates.

Again, not a physicist.

By the way, this sounds a lot like the reasoning the RIAA uses.

No such thing as free lunch... (1, Insightful)

Mindcontrolled (1388007) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370329)

And the work for pressing the plates down is done by what? Maybe, that could be, uhmm... the cars driving over them, yes? So basically they are using their customers fuel to power their store and call that "green". Way to go, guys.

Re:No such thing as free lunch... (0)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370349)

Well, the customers are using their fuel anyhow to drive in, I don't see what's wrong with making use of a kinetic generator which is also using the pull of gravity to generate the power.

Geez, I thought slashies would be more open to this. Go have your afternoon coffees people - and stop being so Captain Cranky Pants.

Re:No such thing as free lunch... (2, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370377)

Well, the customers are using their fuel anyhow to drive in, I don't see what's wrong with making use of a kinetic generator which is also using the pull of gravity to generate the power.

***face palm***

Sigh.

Ok, that's like saying you increase your fuel mileage by driving down hill. What you are failing to take into account is that all your gains have been lost when it comes time to drive back up it! It's the same idea with these plates, but on a much much smaller scale.

Re:No such thing as free lunch... (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370455)

Calling it "green" is wrong, true, but I fail to see why attempting to do some good with traffic that would still be going through there anyway is such a waste.

They aren't getting people to waste gas driving over these plates, people would be driving through that space ANYWAY, all they're doing is trying to harvest some energy from that traffic's passing. Its almost as ridiculous as all these people talking about "stealing" and "leeching" energy from petrol that would still be consumed ANYWAY. All that's happening is some of the waste energy is being captured.

Re:No such thing as free lunch... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370509)

All that's happening is some of the waste energy is being captured.

Its not waste energy if the original driving surface was smooth. This sounds like they have replaced a speed hump (which wastes energy) with a generator which recovers some of the energy wasted by the speed hump.

Re:No such thing as free lunch... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28370543)

But it's not waste energy. It follows the driving up and down hill scenario. Energy has to be conserved.
There are two obvious wasted energies that cars produce as by-products. Heat and sound.

It *is* stealing energy (regardless of how little it is, or how unaware people are of it, it is still stealing)
And it is *not* green.

Think of it like this, you harvest the heat by product of your CPU to generate electricity, and you then use that energy to heat your room. It is stupid, and rather anti-green.

Re:No such thing as free lunch... (2, Insightful)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370579)

Except they wouldn't have since energy has to come from somewhere and car's don't magically use it for no purpose. The energy they're using comes from raising the car's height (ie: potential energy due to gravity) to the height of the plate. Without the plate that energy would not have been used period as there'd have been no need to raise the car's height.

Had there been a natural downward slope present (say it was a speed bump, small hill, etc.) then the energy would have been partially reclaimed and converted into kinetic energy for the car. In other words going downhill makes the car go faster and that energy came from when the car had to go up the hill.

Re:No such thing as free lunch... (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370653)

All that's happening is some of the waste energy is being captured.

Not really.

This fraudulent scheme falls in line with those traffic-driven wind generators. You know, the kind that capture moving air from passing vehicles? These devices just tap into the momentum of the moving air. Sounds great until you realize the stream of traffic has the benefit of "drafting" reduced. As such, the increase in air drag will lower fuel mileage.

Re:No such thing as free lunch... (1)

Deus.1.01 (946808) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370637)

OR!!!

They could just hold in the clutch and let the momentum of the car do the work.

Its not rocket science...

Re:No such thing as free lunch... (1, Insightful)

lazy_playboy (236084) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370435)

You are dumb.

Re:No such thing as free lunch... (1)

DeadDecoy (877617) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370449)

It would be interesting, if somehow the synergy of gravity+car (gas+battery) produced more energy than the car alone. Any force gained on pressing down on the plate will be lost when the car has to drive up, off the plate; or the process is reversed and the car drives up, onto the plate. Worse, it's probably wasting small amounts of energy on other forces like friction. Slashies should be skeptical because any advertisement might lead one to believe that the setup is disobeying the laws of thermodynamics and creating energy for free. It is not. That energy comes from the cars and is siphoning money away from the drivers. It's niave at best and a scam at worst.

Re:No such thing as free lunch... (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370479)

Let's all point and laugh at the parent for his lack of understanding of physics and his lack of common sense.

Good. Now let's laugh at whoever modded him underrated.

It's not generation (1, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370331)

It's theft!

By using these devices, they are stealing energy from the drivers. While one driver may not notice, as a whole, fuel usage is being diverted from all who drive over these things.

Re:It's not generation (0, Troll)

the_xaqster (877576) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370409)

It's not theft, its Piracy!

Quick! We need to form a association ending in AA so we can sue them in to the ground!

Re:It's not generation (1)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370471)

No, piracy is when you copy something without paying for it. This actually deprives someone of tangible goods, if in a tiny quantity. Don't fall for the "intellectual property" fallacy; there are analogues but it's not the same.

Re:It's not generation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28370569)

No. Piracy is when pirates [halloween.it]

storm your ship at the high seas and take your possessions.

Oh baby, storm my ship...

Re:It's not generation (1)

mutemutt (1341901) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370477)

It's theft!

worse than pickpocketing, it is extremely eco-unfriendly. generating energy at the expense of an inefficient generator powered by very inefficient mechanical energy sources (cars) fueled by petrol makes no (environmental) sense at all... errr... maybe unless they are expecting an earthquake.

Re:It's not generation (1)

Trogre (513942) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370507)

... unless the plates are only installed on the downramps, where they should be.

Re:It's not generation (1)

jginspace (678908) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370521)

As I noted in the reply to the post 'Leeching...' below, it's not theft, the cars are slowed down at the point at which they should be slowing down anyway - they're coming into the car park. There's no extra fuel usage - feet will be off the accelerator and over the brake pedal at the point where this device is deployed.

Re:It's not generation (3, Informative)

david.given (6740) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370567)

Technically, you're right. Practically, cars waste such vast amounts of energy that the energy drain for this thing (about equivalent to driving over a small bump) probably couldn't even be measured.

People don't understand just how much energy cars use, because car engines are typically measured in horsepower rather than in kilowatts. But it's the same quantity --- they're dimensionally equivalent. It's instructive to play with Google's units converter a bit: the Tata Nano, the world's cheapest car, has a crappy little engine producing 33 horsepower. That's 25 kilowatts, which is slightly more than the entire electrical supply to my house. A typical racecar produces about 400 kilowatts. A medium model wind turbine (with a 50m tower) produces about 600 kilowatts.

Re:It's not generation (1)

Heir Of The Mess (939658) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370601)

In parking stations you often need to pay for parking - they should give you an option, exit the normal way and pay for your parking, or drive to the roof and into a car elevator that lowers you smoothly to the ground generating electricity. A 1500kg car lowered say 100m off a 20 storey parking station would give you 1500kg x 9.8g x 100m = 1500KJ, enough to run a 400W PC for an hour if you got 100% efficiency out of the thing.

Re:It's not generation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28370641)

they are stealing energy from the drivers

Yeah, right on bro. Wit ya' all da way. And don't forget about dem speedhumps, they do it too. An those breathalysers used by the cops, they steal our hard-earned alcohol too.

Only us motorists has the right to expect sumfin' fur nuthin'

Remember - motoring is the true light of Socialism.

What kind of journalism is this? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28370367)

"The kinetic plates are only one of many green energy projects that Sainsburyâ(TM)s hopes to incorporate in its stores". Yeah, because generating electricity from combustion engines operating in a very inefficient regime is fantastically green...

If this had been the average journalist I'd have given credit for ignorance, but this guys bio says that he's an "energy technology examiner", a "student in robotics" "working on a new process for harnessing wind energy" who hopes to make "a huge impact one day in the field of science."

I think he has a little way to go...

RTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28370381)

I have no fracking idea how any of these early posts are being modded "Insightful"..

Theft? Um, no, it's called "Gravity".

RTFA.

The car's weight puts pressure on the plates, which is used to generate power. It take no more fuel to drive over these plates than it would to drive over asphalt. And no, it doesn't drain the car's batteries either. Jesus.

Man, did someone beat ya'll with the stupid stick today???

Re:RTFA (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370445)

Man, did someone beat ya'll with the stupid stick today???

Allow me to ask you the same question. If there was any free energy to be made out of 'gravity' best believe it would be harnessed one way or another. Which is not. In this occurence the energy is wasted because the plates go down. The extra energy spent by the car is in going back up/going up in the first place.

Re:RTFA (3, Informative)

Barny (103770) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370487)

Wait, so the plate drops down and it makes some power, how does your car get out of the now slight pot-hole? Why it has to drive forward, which (considering you are driveing up a very brief and very small hill) uses a tiny amount more fuel.

There is never, and WILL never be a free ride, all power comes from somewhere.

Re:RTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28370769)

I do not know, but somebody did use this stick on you, obviously...
Read the other comments and gain some insight into the energy conservation concept: no energy can be produced by a force alone, energy is produced (or expanded) by moving a point under force (energy is generated if you go with the force, expanded if you go against it).

What happens is that extra energy is needed from the engine when the car climb to go on the plate.
Then, the car push the plate down, going back to the ground level, and this energy (minus some, due to inefficiencies) is harvested by the shop. In other words, stealed by the shop...
You can turn it the the other way around: you can go on the plate, go down generating energy, then repay it when going up away from the plate, but the principle remain: the energy gained (and used by the shop) comes from extra work (happening before, after or during the passage of the car on those plates) by the car engine....which will use oil to do so...oil paid by the driver. Thus, theft.
The fact that this energy could have been lost in braking or other is irrelevant, except if we add a new legal notion that theft is not really theft if the thing stolen was not used by its owner.

leeching energy from cars (0)

nadaou (535365) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370383)

Of course there is no free energy here. In other words the store is leeching a small amount of petrol energy from all the cars and trucks that drive over it, a little bit at a time. Due to efficiency losses this is a net loss for everyone. Gee, thanks.

Re:leeching energy from cars (5, Informative)

jginspace (678908) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370467)

It's not leeching. The cars are slowed down at the point at which the cars should be slowing down anyway - they're coming into the car park. The 'kinetic energy' device helps where the vehicle's brakes would normally be doing all the work. Bin the TFA, see this insightful article from yesterday's Guardian [guardian.co.uk] .

Re:leeching energy from cars (4, Interesting)

nadaou (535365) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370539)

rationalized leeching is still leeching. Perhaps you own a hybrid with regenerative brakes?

Re:leeching energy from cars (1)

enoz (1181117) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370575)

Kudos for finding that link. TFA reads like a worthless press release.

Re:leeching energy from cars (1)

adavies42 (746183) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370663)

Bin the TFA

Is the bin next to the ATM machine?

One Word. (1)

polar red (215081) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370397)

Greenwash

it reminds me (3, Interesting)

serbanp (139486) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370413)

of the anecdote about Franklin and his entrance door. When a friend complained about how difficult was to push that door, Franklin explained that the door was connected to a ground pump and every time someone opened the door, 2 gallons of water were extracted as well...

Insignificant (1)

phildriscoll (467290) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370415)

Even it wasn't stealing energy from the cars, we are in 'drop in the ocean' territory. Nice analysis here [blogspot.com] .

Re:Insignificant (1)

Barny (103770) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370511)

Yeah, insignificant, by their own words...

30kWh

They can't have it both ways, they can't claim they get a useful amount of power from it per car and at the same time say that amount is insignificant.

Supermarket, doofus (3, Funny)

jginspace (678908) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370423)

England market produces green energy ... Sainsburyâ(TM)s market of England has installed âkinetic energyâ(TM) plates in the parking lot of itâ(TM)s store in Gloucester.

What atrocious writing. Sainsbury's [wikipedia.org] is a supermarket.

Re:Supermarket, doofus (1)

DrScotsman (857078) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370647)

It's not the summery, it's actually TFA that makes this mistake. I've never heard of examiner.com, is it a reputable source? More informative, earlier and not-calling-it-a-market link [dailymail.co.uk]

Re:Supermarket, doofus (1)

jginspace (678908) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370719)

The summary is actually better than the article. Did the Slashdot editor actually do some work or did the Examiner editor trash the writer's work? (Story was submitted by the writer.)

Punctuation got borked in the original quote, trying again:

Sainsbury's market of England has installed 'kinetic energy' plates in the parking lot of it's store in Gloucester.

Re:Supermarket, doofus (5, Funny)

BigZee (769371) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370731)

Quiet true. And it also doesn't have a parking lot either, it has a car park.

It depends (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28370425)

If the energy is just coming from what would normally be wasted as heat from the car's brakes etc, then it really is 'free'. Imagine it (Ideally) like this, instead of braking to get into the parking spot, you roll up a slight incline, the car slows and the plate 'gets' some energy due to the weight of the car pushing on it. The driver did not have to use the brakes as much or at all, so less heat was lost, and that energy went to the system instead of going off as heat.
Obviously this is an ideal scenario, but you can see how you can transfer energy in this way WITHOUT it being parasitic or 'costing' the car driver as all previous posters so angrily assumed.

Driving a car wastes tremendous amounts of energy, a lot of it as heat from the brakes, radiator etc.
If some of this can be transparently recovered (even though in this case it's probably a minuscule amount of what is wasted) , then everybody wins.

Re:It depends (1)

dltaylor (7510) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370735)

Totally wrong.

The obtains energy from dropping heavy vehicles a very small distance, driving a plate as falling water drives a water wheel. Water is recycled to above the wheel by evaporation (solar power, of a sort), while the vehicles use engine power to climb back to their previous level.

This system steals a small amount of motor fuel from each passing vehicle.

This is so stupid it hurts (2, Insightful)

Timo_UK (762705) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370447)

As many other commented, the energy comes off course from the petrol engine of the cars. 1. The efficiency of this system from petrol to electricity must be really low 2. It creates pollution right where you don't want it, in the city: Exhaust fumes plus tire wear

Energy Theft! (1)

blogger11 (1561695) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370461)

Isn't this just stealing energy from their customers? The customers are the ones paying for the extra fuel and wear from these plates... SiteList [sitelist.ca] - The Open Web Directory. Add Your Site!

it's not green (2, Insightful)

marvinglenn (195135) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370489)

TFA calls it a "green energy project". The type of people who think this is green energy are the complete f-ing morons that side track the rest of us from real viable energy advancements.

Further more, the TFA claims this will "lower the energy consumption of the market". At the inefficiency of this (which is already limited to being no more efficient than a car is itself), it will actually increase the energy consumption of the market.

Not energy generation, but still fine (1)

rxmd (205533) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370505)

Since people usually slow down anyway when they enter a parking lot, it makes more sense to convert the kinetic energy into something useful than have everybody just brake and convert it into heat.

Re:Not energy generation, but still fine (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370535)

If you put it like this then it makes sense. But if anything, converting energy from braking/slowing down should be done in the cars themselves.

Let's pave a road with that! (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370515)

Hey if you pave a stretch of road with that, make the energy harvested available from a rail along the road and connect the engines of electric cars to that rail, do you get cars that can travel forever without spending any energy? OMG GREEN HOLY GRAIL!!

Also, pre-emptive 'whoosh' sound for anyone who wouldn't get it.

Re:Let's pave a road with that! (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370533)

I have read suggestions that pipes could be buried under roads to recover energy in the form of sound waves. Of course the energy you get that way is very low quality so using it to power (say) public lighting might not be straightforward.

Isn't this just theft? (1)

feepness (543479) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370531)

The car is climbing over the plate before it drops (or out of a slight dip after it does). This requires a little extra gas and therefore it's coming out of the customer's pocket.

I mean if this is "free" energy, why not pave the streets with them?

Pigeon powered cables (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28370537)

I've got a better idea (TM).

1) Stick dynamos at each pole, with telephone cables wound around the spinning thingie
2) pigeon alights on cable, causing cable to stretch, and dynamo to spin
3) pigeon takes off, dynamo spins again in other direction
4) $$$profit$$

Energy isn't free (1)

AaronW (33736) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370593)

Basically to generate 30KWH of power requires about 41HP. In this case, the power would come from the car pressing down on the plate, but the car must then use additional power to climb off of the plate. Cars are far less efficient at generating power than a dedicated power plant (ICE is at best around 24% efficient not counting losses due to the drive train, a power plant is typically over 40% efficient).

Re:Energy isn't free (1)

BlackPignouf (1017012) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370697)

Careful there, you're mixing energy (kWh) and power (hp).
30kWh is approximately 40.2hp *during an hour*

Granted, TFA and TFS didn't realize either that mentioning an energy without a time span is basically useless.
A nuke can produce 30kWh (in 50ms), so can my bicycle (in a month).

As mentioned in other posts, to produce 30kWh with 10% efficiency, they "just" need to steal 30l of oil during an unspecified amount of time.

Stupid technology + stupid submitters = Welcome to Slashdot!

Put plates at the bottom of an exit ramp (4, Interesting)

SomethingOrOther (521702) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370605)



For those who are rightly saying this energy isn't free...
If the plates are positioned at the bottom of a downhill exit ramp, they will aid drivers braking, prividing kinetic energy without "stealing" drivers fuel. Somehow, I doubt this is where they will be positioned though :-)

(Incidentally... a similar idea was to build tram / light-rail stations on the top of small hills. Thus gravity assists the train in braking and accelerating away from teh station)

Oh and Sainsburys is a British Supermarket, not an English Market..... Big difference !

Green if it's for parking (1)

non0score (890022) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370609)

I suppose as long as they install it only in the parking spaces where the cars are coming to a stop anyway, then it wouldn't really be stealing from the drivers/cars. It'd also help them save on their brakes as well.

Then again, this is Slashdot, so someone's going to point out that people may not park right the first time, or that they may be driving across parking spaces to get to the other side instead of on the designated driving lanes, etc...I guess I'll shut up now.

Not to bitch and moan but,... (1)

SpaghettiPattern (609814) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370655)

Don't want to bitch or moan. But isn't that just stealing energy from cars?
There's no such thing as free energy. It probably will cost cars extra to drive over the plates. That is, the 30 kWh come from fossil fuel. Way to go!

This reminds me a story used in Superman (1)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370679)

This reminds me a story where the guy stole fractions of cents from each Bank Account. Nobody noticed !

Who is going to stop going to that market because of this highly imperceptible extra charge ? In this perspective it is ingenious. But can you imagine cities going this route in low speed limit zones ? Where will it stop ?

Energy saving wise, it is no good, gas motor would use that energy more efficiently, there is always a lost when you transfer one form of energy to another.

As for the guy who stole fractions of cents from the bank he was working at, he got caught by making to many expensive purchases, buying expensive cars to his family members, etc. so they finally investigated him because he was working at a bank. If I recall right, this story was borrowed by one of the Superman movies, but it occurred for real before that. It was then double fun to see it in Superman.

 

Energy vs Power (1)

Mr Europe (657225) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370749)

30 kWh is something, but how long does it take to collect that? 30 kWh for each car hardly succeeds!
It could be calculated for each year, maybe..

Anyway kWh is a measure of amount of energy, not power. If the plates power would be 30 kW, it would take one hour to collect 30 kWh. But 30 kW is way more than the car normally uses.

Frosty Plates in the chill cabinet, maybe? (1)

hcpxvi (773888) | more than 5 years ago | (#28370767)

But seriously, to what extent is this a gain, given that the energy "produced" must all originate in the petrol tanks of the cars visiting the supermarket. I suppose that it is a double gain for the supermarket in that they get some free electricity and also get to sell a bit more of the petrol that makes it. Or can it be shown that the power generated would otherwise have all been lost in braking for the speed-bumps in the car park?
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