New Energy Technologies Finds Power IN the Roads

John Davis

Usually we talk about alternative energy being used on the roads, but this time, I’d like to introduce you to a technology that harvests energy FROM the roads.

Continuing my conversation from yesterday with New Energy Technologies’ President and CEO John Conklin, he tells us today about MotionPower, that captures the kinetic energy produced by moving vehicles.

“If solar and wind energy can be used to generate electricity for commercial and residential use, we began to wonder, ‘why can’t automobiles and trucks?'”

Conklin says more than 250 million vehicles drive about 6 billion miles each day on this nation’s roadways, providing a great feedstock for this new technology. Only about 15 percent of the energy in transportation fuels actually moves the vehicle; the rest is lost to the moving parts of the engine. And of the 15 percent, 10 percent of that is lost to the rolling resistance known as braking. Capturing that lost energy is the basis of the MotionPower technology.

He adds that MotionPower is really divided into two types of energy-capturing technologies: one that uses a mechanical treadal-type of system that generates the electricity from a deceleration area, such as an off-ramp or a low-speed road area; and the other that uses a peristaltic system that pushes a fluid through the mechanism to take advantage of wave motion energy generation (which would be used more commonly with heavy-duty trucks).

“With kinetic energy being related to mass and velocity, we can develop systems to target low-speed automobiles, high-speed automobiles and heavy trucks,” Conklin explains.

Conklin says these technologies are very close to being installed in our roads and sees 2011 as key to his company’s commercialization efforts.

Listen to more of my conversation with Conklin here: John Conklin, New Energy Technologies, part 2