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Ramp Creates Power As Cars Pass

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the rolling-rolling-rolling dept.

Power 426

Ant wrote to mention a BBC News report on a ramp that generates power via passing cars. From the article: "Dorset inventor Peter Hughes' Electro-Kinetic Road Ramp creates around 10kW of power each time a car drives over its metal plates. More than 200 local authorities had expressed an interest in ordering the £25,000 ramps to power their traffic lights and road signs, Mr Hughes said."

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Great idea! (5, Insightful)

confusion (14388) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282527)

Takes generating electricity to a new level of inefficiency...

I suppose it might work on a ramp going down, but level or up, and the "free" energy is coming from the gas tanks of the drivers.

Jerry
http://www.cyvin.org/ [cyvin.org]

Re:Great idea! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14282550)

If used on straight road, silly. But if on an off ramp where the car has to slow down anyway, then it is a form of regnerative braking for the car.

But it won't be good for the efficiency of hybrid cars.

Re:Great idea! (-1)

laughingcoyote (762272) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282561)

This is not an ADDITIONAL energy drain, it's simply harnessing waste energy which is already transmitted between the car and the road.

Your wheels must, by definition, transfer energy from your vehicle's engine to the road in order to move it forward. These simply capture a portion of that "wasted" energy and make it into electricity. What's bad about that?

Re:Great idea! (4, Informative)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282608)

Yes, yes it is. The energy your car expends pushing on the road is turned into kinetic energy, which manifests as the car going forward. The losses are heat from friction (which you can't do anything about) and mechanical (sound and movement) energy transmitted to the road. You can minimize the mechanical losses by making your road as stiff and hard as possible. These things do the opposite -- make the road soft and squishy (by using plates that shift down when weight is applied). This causes the car to lose extra energy, some (not all) of which can be turned into electricity.

Re:Great idea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14282683)

If I remember correctly, most of the friction goes to the internal gears of the car instead of between the tires and the road.

Re:Great idea! (2, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282722)

I think you're right. Very little is lost in contact with the road, at least when you're driving on pavement. But if you start making the road soft, you lose extra energy. Of course, if you're not driving on pavement you might actually lose more energy to the ground than internally. In deep sand, for instance.

Re:Great idea! (1)

TorKlingberg (599697) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282613)

I think you are wrong there. This will be an additional energy drain. Not much though, so I woudln't bother.

Re:Great idea! (2, Informative)

gtoomey (528943) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282624)

Nonsense. The mechanical device will cause the car to slow down. More energy (gasoline) is required to bring the car up to speed.

Re:Great idea! (3, Interesting)

aXis100 (690904) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282625)

Uhh, no. Wheels do not transfer energy (primarily), they transfer force. Force times distance (your wheels turning against torque) equals work (energy), so by wheels turning they convert the chemical energy of the fuel into kinetic energy of the car.

The only other significant energy wheels transfer to the ground is a bit of hysteresis and some skidding.

Re:Great idea! (1)

Paul Jakma (2677) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282717)

The only other significant energy wheels transfer to the ground is a bit of hysteresis and some skidding.

Not sure what you mean hysteris (which does not refer to forces or energy per se, but to certain behaviours, possibly involving forces/energy transfer. Least in my understanding) but there's a heat transfer from the rubber of the tyres to the road, typically - unless the road is already quite warm.

Are you sure it's just wasted energy? (4, Insightful)

Eric Damron (553630) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282626)

What do you base your belief that this is "wasted energy" being used?

It's only wasted if the driver would have applied his brakes turning the forward motion of his automobile into heat. This would make sense on off ramps or downhill slopes. On a flat road, however, this will convert some of his forward motion into energy that this mechanism will leach.

Thank you, Sir Isaac Clueless (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14282644)

Apparently, physics was not your major. The same goes for the clueless mods that modded you up.

Re:Great idea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14282563)

Doesn't anyone read articles? The weight of the vehicle presses down on plates that drive a generator. This has nothing to do with the drivetrain of the vehicles creating the power.

Re:Great idea! (4, Insightful)

confusion (14388) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282584)

It has nothing to do with the drivetrain, that's true, but it has everything to do with sapping the inertia from a moving car. I don't but for a second that it "harnesses the vehicle pressing down on the road". The plate is an elevated ramp, which my car pushes down on as it goes over. My car will take more enery to go over a road of those things than a normal, flat road.

And yes, I did RTFA
Jerry
http://www.cyvin.org/ [cyvin.org]

Re:Great idea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14282593)

2 cm drop times 10 m/s^2 times 1000 kg car = 200 watts. That's a long way from the 10 kW of the article.

There is more to this than gravity.

Re:Great idea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14282650)

No, 200 Joules.

200 Joules per car. To get 10 kW we must assume 50 cars per second. Too many. But assuming 2 lanes we do 10 kW with 25 cars per second. Continuing to scale up the number of ramps we can get 10 kW with gravity alone. (And there will be a maximum number of cars per second per ramp because the ramp needs finite time to to allow return to full height, with a spring one presumes.)

But the car must still raise itself up (or else it does not press down), so even for a gravitationally operated system the energy comes from the car lifting itself up the ramp.

It's a way to turn gas into electricity, and needs to be depolyed where cars want to slow down.

Re:Great idea! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14282708)

1.21 jiggawatts!?!?! what was i thinking????

Re:Great idea! (2, Informative)

gibodean (224873) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282714)

There's Force, Energy and Power. They're different.

The force of the car of 1000kg is 1000*9.8 is about 10,000N (F=ma)

The Energy the car makes moving 2cm is 10,000*0.02 = 200Nm, not Watts.

The Power is measured in Watts, and depends on how long it took for the car to impart the energy. (P=E/t)

So, to get their 10kW quoted, it means it must have taken the car 200/10000 = 0.02s.

So, it takes 20ms to depress the bump....

Re:Great idea! (1)

gibodean (224873) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282735)

Or, it's more likely that the 10kW they quote is peak power, during part of the travel of the ramp. What I just calculated above assumed the 10kW was the average power.

Re:Great idea! (1)

Billygoatz (861464) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282595)

This is just a stair climber for cars.

  If you've ever used one, you know it takes energy to get back to it's original height.

Re:Great idea! (1)

toddestan (632714) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282605)

Doesn't anyone read articles? The weight of the vehicle presses down on plates that drive a generator. This has nothing to do with the drivetrain of the vehicles creating the power.

Even so, the car will have to burn an additional amount of gas to climb out of the shallow hole it will suddenly find itself in. The energy has to come from somewhere.

Re:Great idea! (5, Interesting)

MemoryAid (675811) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282578)

It looks like a speed bump, so presumably it is to be placed somewhere cars are encouraged to slow down. It would make sense to convert some of that energy into electricity instead of heat.

The article said that "Depending on the weight of the vehicle passing overhead, between five and 50kW can be generated." I wonder if that is only while the car is passing, or an average figure for some reasonable level of traffic. I imagine the duty cycle of a speed bump is low.

Creator's Website (2, Informative)

nursegirl (914509) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282611)

Here's the inventor's website: http://www.hughesresearch.co.uk.nyud.net:8090/ [nyud.net]

There's some videos on the site, but the "Technical" section is laughably vague.

TNSTAAFL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14282634)

That energy is coming from the cars that pass. In other words, another government tax.

Yes and no (1)

gaijin99 (143693) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282731)

It looks to me that they are planning on using the ramps in place of speed humps. In that case the car would have been slowing down and speeding back up anyway so it isn't going to cost anything extra for the driver.

Naturally this is leaving aside the question of whether speed humps are worthwhile or not.

Ramp up (2, Funny)

dotslashdot (694478) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282528)

Ramp up production, but make sure you have an exit strategy.

Now that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14282531)

Sounds like a bright idea!

Noooo way (1, Insightful)

LiENUS (207736) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282532)

No way I would avoid any roads with these, that energy the ramp "creates" it is really sapping from the vehicle. Heres an idea, since I was already taxed for purchasing the gas USE THAT MONEY TO POWER THE LIGHTS.

Re:Noooo way (4, Interesting)

BLAG-blast (302533) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282639)

No way I would avoid any roads with these, that energy the ramp "creates" it is really sapping from the vehicle.

I assume you mean you don't want to drive on the roads with these 'ramps'.

Heres an idea, since I was already taxed for purchasing the gas USE THAT MONEY TO POWER THE LIGHTS.

That brings up an interesting point. Maybe, I'm paying tax on gas to power traffic lights in your town? (I know taxes are a little more complex than that, but....) How about the people who are using the traffic lights pay for them? That sounds pretty fair, right? If you live on a street that has few traffic lights, why should you pay taxes for three streets over to power x5 the number of traffic lights when you never drive there?

This would make the lights powered by the people who are using, rather than by people who are not using them.

Re:Noooo way (2, Insightful)

Sancho (17056) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282690)

Fine--but is there any indication that these ramps would replace gasoline taxes? More likely they'd be in addition, as most Americans wouldn't understand that they're losing gas mileage.

Re:Noooo way (2, Interesting)

nursegirl (914509) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282711)

most Americans wouldn't understand that they're losing gas mileage.

Particularly since the company's promo video specifically says that the devices don't use extra gas. The average citizen/politician with little/no understanding of physics will believe him.

Gas powered ramp??? (1)

lkeagle (519176) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282534)

Great, a ramp that's powered by the gasoline in my truck...

Whatever will they think of next...

Now that's interesting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14282535)

People should charge for the power that they produce when they drive over these ramps.

Great (1, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282537)

Just great. Yet another gas tax.

BREAKING: Attempted Assassination (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14282656)

It looks like an assassination was attempted against Iran's president, but failed.

You may recall him from such news clips as "What Holocaust?" and "The Jews Should All Go to Alaska."

news story [iranvajahan.net]

Jackpot (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14282538)

And just how many cars does it take to pay for one of these ramps?

I call (0, Troll)

Swampfeet (758961) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282540)




BULLSHIT


Crap idea (1)

spungo (729241) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282542)

...'cos what's going to happen if they install enough of them is that cars will have to use more gas to get over them all, hence all you're doing is using fossil fuels instead of grid electricity - which could be from low-emission nuclear power. So in the end, it's not a very green solution.

Re:Crap idea (1)

alex_guy_CA (748887) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282618)

While I agree with your basic point about crap idea, your sub point about nukes is daft. Can you say radioactive waste? Want some?

Hope you like all the (1)

Swampfeet (758961) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282675)



radioactive waste you're getting right now, from COAL PLANTS, which release far more radioactive material into the air, totally unregulated [nci.org] , than any nuclear power plant. Because there's uranium IN THE FUCKING COAL. Moron.

Re:Crap idea (1)

spungo (729241) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282695)

Ok - even if you don't nuclear power it's a bad idea as it's bound to be hugely less efficient than using grid electricity - however that's generated.

WOOHOO!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14282543)

FUCKing RIGHt d0g!!!

The obvious question is (1)

deft (253558) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282544)

Obviously the energy for the ramp is coming from the forward motion of the car pushing up the ramp, slowing the car, causing it to use more fuel.

So, basically, they are making people pay in gas incrementally for passing over that section of the road. A toll ramp of sorts...

I don;t know if I'm cool with that, although the idea is very cool.

Re:The obvious question is (1)

Mateorabi (108522) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282632)

Well seeing as the electricity goes to power things like traffic lights and such, things that the drivers use while on the road, I guess this is more of a pay-to-use type tax.

I guess the tax paying bloke down the street who rides a bike to work will be glad he no longer has to pay for it.

Re:The obvious question is (1)

CosmeticLobotamy (155360) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282718)

I guess the tax paying bloke down the street who rides a bike to work will be glad he no longer has to pay for it.

I'm sure he'll be thrilled that the exact same amount he will pay in taxes will now be used to buy a slightly better stapler, despite the cheap one being good enough, for a government pencil pusher. Either that, or go towards the salary of the guys that maintain the road's new moving parts.

Re:The obvious question is (1)

alex_guy_CA (748887) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282648)

What if it is on a down ramp? It saves your brakes a little bit instead. Unless you have a hybrid with regen braking you should like it.

Re:The obvious question is (1)

iabervon (1971) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282680)

On the other hand, if it's installed before traffic lights or on highway off-ramps, cars will be slowing down anyway. If the energy would otherwise go into the brakes, it's not going to increase gas consumption. The only people who would have a reason to complain would be hybrid drivers with regenerative braking.

Re:The obvious question is (3, Interesting)

interiot (50685) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282703)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regenerative_braking [wikipedia.org]

Basically, put these things in places people would always slow down anyway (eg. off-ramps), and it's a win-win. Free energy production for the city, and reduced wear on brake pads for the citizens.

Free energy! (1)

Hao Wu (652581) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282545)

It's an energy tax.

You pay for the gasoline (*petrol* in england), and the state slows your car down, recapturing the energy that you paid for!

How much power? (3, Interesting)

rob_squared (821479) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282546)

Does a tractor trailer give it? Or would that break it?

There is no such thing as a free lunch... (1)

hmbcarol (937668) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282547)

Each car that generates this "power" will find that it burns that little bit more gas than they would have otherwise going over the hump.

In fact, because of the inefficiencies involved, it would have saved fuel to have simply used electricity generated by a real power plant than being a vampire and taking it a bit at a time out of cars passing overhead.

These people either do not know the cost is simply being passed on to each car in terms of more fuel burned or don't care.

Re:There is no such thing as a free lunch... (1)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282715)

Yeah, this is idiotic. Raise the damn gas tax 1 cent or something. Silently sucking fuel effiency is craziness.

It gets worse (5, Funny)

tkdog (889567) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282549)

That's not even the bad part. Those damn government bastards have installed "friction" all over the place and it is WARMING THE PLANET. It's a plot I tell you, a plot.

Wow? (1)

netkid91 (915818) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282551)

Isn't this basically the same as traditonal gas-power, but the cars are using the gas? Of course I never RTFA. Nothing to see her folks, move along.

Cost vs. benefit... (5, Insightful)

johndierks (784521) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282554)

I wonder how long it takes to pay off a 25,000 pound piece of equipment plus installation and maintenance with savings in electricity for street and traffic lights? I'm guessing a really long time.
Is it even worth it?

Re:Cost vs. benefit... (3, Insightful)

An Onerous Coward (222037) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282621)

Even worse, most modern traffic lights use energy efficient LEDs, and therefore don't use nearly as much electricity as they used to.

I don't know how many light installations one of these is supposed to power, but the only easy way to power more than one would be to hook it directly into the grid. So basically they're taking the amount of energy being produced by these things and subtracting it off the city-wide electricity bill.

If Salt Lake ever starts looking at these, I'll be looking over the city charter, trying to figure out where it requires the city to generate electricity at all, much less in the most inefficient and annoying way possible.

Maybe if you only installed them on downhill slopes....

Re:Cost vs. benefit... (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282662)

10kW per car is pretty good. Most households us 2-3kW on average.

Re:Cost vs. benefit... (1)

earnest murderer (888716) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282686)

I'm not sure they'd even keep up with the maintenance costs.

Or the energy conversion costs since you're burining fuel to power them instead of whatever the grid sources from.

Or.. wait a minute, "10kW" that's not even sensical is it? I'm not an electrical engineer but that seems fishy as well.

The new monorail?

how about if they only pop up (5, Insightful)

quakemeister (190139) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282555)

when there is a red light ahead. so instead of wasting peoples gas, these things would save consumers brake pads?

so you could have a field of them that pop up some distance before each light to absorb all the wasted energy that goes into brake heat.

Re:how about if they only pop up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14282667)

But where would the energy required to pop these things up come from???

Re:how about if they only pop up (1)

Matt Perry (793115) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282737)

Springs.

Re:how about if they only pop up (4, Insightful)

Temporal (96070) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282706)

But those of us with hybrid cars are already reclaiming that energy...

Re:how about if they only pop up (2, Interesting)

dogwelder99 (896835) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282734)

Or, instead of on highways, install them as speed bumps on suburban streets with a low speed limit, and just feed the power back into the grid. Put in a movement damper and angle the ramp so the forward slope is a bit steeper than the downward slope, so that speeders pay more of a penalty. It's still a dumb idea, just a bit less dumb.

If you wanted highways to be more power-efficient, why not sink them 50 feet into the ground? You'd get a boost from potential energy and burn less fuel on a downhill on-ramp, when you're accelerating and burning inefficiently anyway... but the real savings come when you hit the uphill off-ramp, and have to bleed off less waste energy braking to a stop.

Snow/Ice Removal on Roads (2, Interesting)

JamesAndrews (889797) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282564)

Although the cost would be astronomical, it would be nice to implement this on highways/roads to keep them heated during the colder seasons (ie, Northern Ontario). Snow only stays on the ground because the ground temperature is below freezing. So, keeping the roads at 1 Degree Celsius would keep snow and ice off the roads.

Also, because the ice couldn't melt then freeze and expand, this would be an excellent cost savings measure over the long term: no more cracking or pot holes (which are mainly caused by freezing water.)

The other option are solar panels, but this method might be more cost effective.

Re:Snow/Ice Removal on Roads (1)

JamesAndrews (889797) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282599)

I say make them in much smaller sizes, but in larger numbers (hundreds of Micro-Ramps), then market the product towards advertising companies to pay for the installation costs. They can be installed a locations throughout highways to power their billboards and electronic signs, and the left over energy can be used for other purposes (10kW is quite a bit).

This is equivalent to taxing gasoline... (4, Insightful)

synaptik (125) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282565)

...or perhaps I should say, taxing gasoline *more*. After all, the power is coming from somewhere... you know, conservation of energy, and all that jive?

So, instead of tearing up the road, installing this infrastructure, and then paying to maintain it, why not just add 1 cent more of taxes to a gallon of gas, and earmark that money for the purpose of paying the electric bill? Seems a lot simpler. Besides, the taxes levied really ought to accurately reflect the full cost of utilizing the municipality's infrastructure... if this cost is something the bean-counters have overlooked in the past, just add it to the tax bill.

Re:This is equivalent to taxing gasoline... (2, Insightful)

TheVoice900 (467327) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282724)

Valid point there about the conservation of energy, but this is not quite the equivalent of taxing gas. For example, you could install these devices on a downhill section of road, where motorists should be looking a deccelerating, so in addition to slowing them down you would get some power in the process. Another suitable location is before intersections on cross-streets. Many cross-streets here that come on to a major road have their light red until a car arrives, and then it turns green after some time. This means that motorists approaching the main road pretty much always have to stop. This would be a prime place to install such a device, which could likely also perform double duty as the sensor that detects approaching vehicles. I agree that putting these on a major road where traffic is moving most of the time and motorists have their foot on the gas is probably a bad idea, but it's not the only possibility.

Why not just tax the drivers? (-1, Redundant)

GISGEOLOGYGEEK (708023) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282579)

This is nothing more than a convoluted tax on the drivers.

The energy comes from the passing cars, the cars must burn a little more gas to overcome the resistance that the ramp uses to generate the energy.

Why not just tax the drivers instead of forcing them to burn even more polluting gas? The money could fund a cleaner way of generating the energy.

Such a dumbass waste.

Units! (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282580)

creates around 10kW of power

Um, OK, for how long? Because the more relevant quantity that we'd actually care about is energy.

Not to be pedantic, but for something like this it actually matters (as opposed to the typical /. grammar-nazi asshattery).

Re:Units! (1)

ottothecow (600101) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282646)

Well...because the watt itself is already a unit of energy and time (joules dissapated each second), it doesnt really matter what timeframe it takes for the car to generate the power as it would simply work out to be less joules over more time or more joules over less time and end up with an average of 10kW per car.

Re:Units! (1)

cakoose (460295) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282720)

If the wattage were sustained, then yeah, the timeframe doesn't matter. But the term "10kW per car" implies that the wattage isn't sustained.

Re:Units! (1)

nursegirl (914509) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282689)

Well, in theory is 10 kW of power for each car that passes over. But, on the Hughes Research website video, he admits that they have only created a prototype that creates 500-800 W of power, but their theoretical models lead them to believe they can harness 5-10 kW per vehicle.
Good luck to them, but I've found a significant difference between theory and practice.

Power from Cars (1)

miracle69 (34841) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282582)

Well, the users of the road pay for the electricity.

If it is placed low enough on the ramp it will be more "free" energy because the cars would need to be slowing anyway, so a small hit there would not be noticed at all by a driver. If anything, if it was at the bottom of the ramp, it would help save the driver some brakepad.

More efficient? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14282585)

Wouldn't it be more efficient to just siphon gas out of the tank?

Hmm (1)

Cmdr_earthsnake (939669) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282586)

It has some benifits in the long term and some.. well.. bumps in the short term.

More than 200 local authorities had expressed an interest in ordering the £25,000 ramps to power their traffic lights and road signs, Mr Hughes said.
Around 300 jobs are due to be created in Somerset for a production run of 2,000 ramps next year.


In some ways it's productive and marks a step foward for more renewable energy created from driving.. but yet it could cause more problems, as I drivers don't like bumps much anyway as it can make driving a painful and jerky experience. Having them everywhere could inevitably lead to bumpier roads in general. I do think it has more pros than cons though, and coupled with diesel based cars and these Kyoto breakthroughs and the recent concern on conservation and energy saving of late, these things could very well be a step in the right direction.

This is similar to an idea I had (1)

pseudosocrates (601092) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282588)

a number of years back (should have patented it). Replace standard paving slabs with slabs that sink slightly when stood on, and generate electricity from the motion...wouldn't create any issues of extra emissions (as this will), and would merely make your trip to the shops a little more tiring. Solving obesity and power issues all in one. Ok, probably wouldn't work practically, but is a damn sight better end-product than this.

Re:This is similar to an idea I had (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14282657)

You know, exercise contributes to global warming as well ...

Breaking effect ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14282596)

Some intresting things here.

Yup its uses your power that you paid for.

Though if its near lights 50% of the time the lights going to be red so therefor it doesnt always use your power cause you are going to be slowing down any way.

How much wear does it put on your car.

Or possibly the most important thing. How does this effect your breaking distance if your breaking really hard. A nice bump in the road can really offset this.

Also i can see traffic lights not working on monday monrings for the first 1000 cars or so.

Energie can not be produced .. (1)

burni (930725) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282606)

when you get Energy through using that ramp, it will be taken from ...
yes the gasoline exploded in the motor, but more directly from the impulse of
your moving car .. and yes many people here got it right ..
CRAP idea ..

but not THAT new nor .. from UK .. (this might sound bit like chekov ;) ) but
a system like this was presented in ca. 1993 on a german show on tv
concerning popular science and experiments .. called "Knoff Hoff",
- Mythbusters without being such extrem awkward -
(it´s an adaption of KNOW HOW .. to the german-only speakers, who aren´t able to articulate the english term)

and that´s why it´s a crap idea .. you have higher emission of CO2
from your car because you power this system, ok it will not pay that much
when it´s your car only but when you sum all up .. you will see these
ramps and who ever use them to drain energy from cars, deserve to be
called energy-thieves.

Why not induction? (1)

gtoomey (528943) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282607)

Instead of using a mechanical device, why not use the passing car to induce a current in an underground coil and generate electricity.

These could be placed in high vehicle traffic areas (not just near traffic lights). No moving parts means little maintenance.

Re:Why not induction? (1)

HEbGb (6544) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282694)

Because most cars are not magnets.

Next, the toll to enter the turnpike... (5, Funny)

craXORjack (726120) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282610)

You'll have to drive your car on a giant hamster wheel attached to a generator for two minutes.

Great! 5-50KW but use of LEDs means .01W needed (1)

rcpitt (711863) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282637)

OK - 5-50KW for 1/10 second isn't much - but it would light a ton of LED signs for a looonnnng time.

These guys really need to give their collective heads a shake - ~&25,000 will purchase a hell of a lot of LED lights, a battery/capacitor bank and Solar Array (OK - Britain doesn't get as much sun as some places - but its possible, OK?)

Put this one up there with the ones who think there is a perpetual motion machine.

tolls (1)

pintomp3 (882811) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282649)

how about find a way implement these on toll roads? then you could sell the power generated to collect money instead of time-wasting toll booths.

Re:tolls (1)

slysithesuperspy (919764) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282682)

wouldn't the whole bridge or whatever need to be covered with them? :P

If used in the right places... (1)

harvitronix (939677) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282669)

Of course taking energy from cars going up ramps is just using the gas we paid for to generate power... BUT, it could be good if used in the correct way. If these generators were placed in places where we always have to slow down -- such as at stop signs -- or if they were only turned on when approaching a traffic light that has turned red, then it would in fact help save our break pads while at the same time generating electricity. So maybe what they're saying is that they're only installing these things on ramps that lead into traffic lights or slower speed limits, so they would in fact help in slowing the car down, as apposed to stealing our cars' energy? One can only hope...

Good idea but not in England (1)

monkaru (927718) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282677)

Over here, on the other side of the pond, it could be put to good use. In northern Canada we have very remote stretches of highway where maintaining power or telephone lines is very problematic. The obvious answer for roadside emergency cell phones and so on, solar panels, are out because of winter darkness. Tapping passing drivers for a bit of their gas to store in a battery array for a roadside emergency phone and warming booth would be pretty welcome 240 KM outside of Watson Lake, Yukon in January.

Re:Good idea but not in England (1)

Eightyford (893696) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282696)

Ice would be a problem.

Re:Good idea but not in England (1)

monkaru (927718) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282745)

Not if it is sealed in some way or placed in an avalanche shelter which is covered anyway.

Is that legal? (1)

Kanasta (70274) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282684)

Energy doesn't just get created. If ur taking(stealing) energy from my car, I'd want to be compensated.
What, next they'll discover powering traffic lights by tapping into the neighboring house's electrical outlet?

More info from the website (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14282692)

Here's a diagram [hughesresearch.co.uk] of how it works. Be sure to wipe your mind after you're done looking at it though, it's labeled "STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL".

Home Page: http://www.hughesresearch.co.uk/ [hughesresearch.co.uk] with other photographs and some short & long video clips.

Re:More info from the website (1)

monkaru (927718) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282719)

Gee, from the diagram it appears the ramp is exploiting the weight of the car rather than kinetic energy. Looks like it would sip far less gas than your average speeed bump. Pretty clever.

How much Energy per Car? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14282707)

Dorset inventor Peter Hughes' Electro-Kinetic Road Ramp creates around 10kW of power each time a car drives over its metal plates.
Perhaps I'm mistaken but this information doesn't seem particularily useful. Watts or kilo-Watts tells us the rate of energy transfer but how long is the car actually generating energy on one of these plates? If it's on a busy road and is practically constantly generating power then this is number if useful. If it only gets hit for a split second now and then its hard to tell how much energy is actually being generated.

50kW is a big impressive number and all, but doesn't seem very useful. How much Energy does this produce per car?

Nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14282709)

So now we can give our own gas to power the devices our nanny states will put on the roads to fine us for going 2 mph over the speed limit on an empty road...

Another stupid idea (1)

Stan Vassilev (939229) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282725)

Given we're paying taxes for our cars, can anyone explain why we should (indirectly) power the traffic lights with the fuel of our own cars?

Also I've not even started discussing the costs of implementing the required hardware.

This idea is bad anyway you look at it: for drivers, for the government, for the ecology.

Perceived obstacle? (2, Interesting)

Dan East (318230) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282726)

From the pictures, that ramp appears to stick up at least 3 inches above the road surface. I don't know about you, but if I saw anything remotely that large sticking up, I'd be hitting the breaks or changing lanes to avoid it. That could be a real danger unless 100% of the drivers were already familiar with it. I would be very surprised if they tried to use it on roads with speed limits greater than 35 MPH or so.

Dan East

I dont know about traffic in England... (1)

Tinn-Can (938690) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282728)

Here in Texas we have to go from a greater to a lesser speed comming down an offramp so you end up just not having to use your breaks as much... my only qualm is that that looks a lot like a ramp that would send my car flying at 70mph... unless it slams down realy realy fast, realy realy hard like i guess it does, but then how long would that last? Sounds like they will be spending a lot more than the 25000 pounds for this idea...

Off ramps? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14282733)

C'mon people, these can be used intelligently. Like in situations where the majority of the people crossing them are preparing to stop and either coasting or braking. I don't know how it is where you live, but here there's a red light at the end of every freeway offramp. I'm gonna stop anyway!

Who likes this? (1)

funchords (937529) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282740)

1. Those that hate SUVs like this, heavier vehicles will press hardest on the plates and will be slowed the most. 2. Those that want toll roads like this, the toll is collected by the vehicle's energy transfer into the plates. No need for toll booths! 3. Those that want lower speeds like this, the accelleration rate will be lower. So lay the pedal to the metal, everyone! It helps the environment!

It is theft (1)

eyebits (649032) | more than 8 years ago | (#14282742)

Folks here (so far) are being nice by calling the energy taken from the moving car a 'tax' or a 'toll'. My view is that it would be theft if it were implemented. Taking something of value from me without my permission is theft. It not like the energy captured is just "free" energy that would be lost otherwise. The scheme will extract energy from the cars. So, call it what it is...theft.
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