New Energy Technologies' MotionPower system can generate electricity from the kinetic energy produced by slowing vehicles.
If the energy expended by cyclists and pedestrians can be harnessed and used for other purposes, it stands to reason that cars can be similarly productive. Enter Maryland-based New Energy Technologies, whose MotionPower technology can generate electricity from the motion of slowing vehicles. In essence, MotionPower helps a vehicle to slow down while, at the same time, capturing that vehicle’s kinetic energy before it’s lost as brake heat and friction. New Energy Technologies and the city of Roanoke, Va., recently demonstrated the technology with an energy-generating rumble strip at the Roanoke Civic Center in October. Specifically, when the drivers of nearly 600 participating vehicles slowed down or stopped at the strip, their vehicle tires depressed small treadles, allowing for the capture of kinetic energy. That energy, in turn, was converted into electricity and used to power a series of bright lights on display at the event. The sustainable energy harnessed over the course of the 6-hour event was enough to power lights for the average American home for an entire day, the company says. Still under development, MotionPower is best-suited for use in situations where vehicles are traveling faster than 15 mph and are slowing down before stopping, such as in parking lots, border crossings, exit ramps, neighborhoods with traffic calming zones, rest areas, toll booths, and travel plazas. Green-minded entrepreneurs: one to get involved in early? Spotted by: Parul Rohatgi