Energy-Harvesting Shock Absorbers Coming to a Car Near You
Zack Anderson, a former student in electrical engineering and computer sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and now chief operating officer of Levant Power, holds a prototype of an energy-harvesting shock absorber called GenShock up to a Humvee coil spring where it is installed. Anderson and fellow MIT students developed the technology to not only harvest energy but also to provide better overall suspension for heavy-load vehicles. (Source: MIT)
Interesting, gvsreedhar, I never thought about the energy of vehicles when they brake and come to a stop, but perhaps you're on to something here. I'd be interested to see something in more detail about how this can work.
Like energy harvesting is being successfully invented for commercial use, the government, high way engineers and city traffic departments can think of harvesting breaking energy of vehicles at all traffic junctions. All vehicals come to a halt at all traffic junctions on seeing Red light. This breaking energy of all types of vehicles is absorbed by tarmac of the roads at these locations. The kinetic energy of vehicle is getting wasted out, this need be harvested. By suitably lacing this part of roads with either hydraulic mechanisms or piezo electric panels, it may be possible to convert this otherwise wasted energy for use to supply street lights and traffic lights.
I didn't think about that, Chuck...better, energy-harvesting shock absorbers could give lazy infastructure entities a reason NOT to fix the potholes! ;) Where I live in Portugal there are still a lot of dirt tracks people need to drive sometimes...I know these would come in handy for them for sure.
Thanks for the information, Watashi. Now I know something I didn't before about tractor-trailer and truck anatomy. I think this technology can be useful, too, but I suppose we will have to see how it tests and if it ever gets used in a more widespread way.
I agree, Watashi. It would be nice. I can think of a lot of streets in Chicago that could generate a lot of power with these shocks. The only problem is it would give the aldermen another reason for not fixing the potholes.
Yes - they are pretty much standard equipment on tractor-trailers and large trucks. Smaller vehicles like hummers and large SUVs use springs and shocks, so that is probably why they are setting that as a target.
I remember hearing about this technology a while back. It would be cool if they could get some useful power out of their system and make driving on rough roads worth the trouble :)
The shock absorbers are still in testig so I guess it remains to be seen how well they perform. A tractor also sounds like a good application of the technology, but I wonder what the energy would be used for on a tractor? I don't know much about how they're built. Are there electronics or other sensors that could use the power?
Interesting idea. I am curious to know how this shock absorber perform in long single stretch bumpy roads? If they can store energy generated in a continuous bumpy roads then they will be best suitable application will be in a tractor working on a field.
The engineers and inventors of the post WWII period turned their attention to advancements in electronics, communication, and entertainment. Breakthrough inventions range from LEGOs and computer gaming to the integrated circuit and Ethernet -- a range of advancements that have little in common except they changed our lives.
Neil Fromer is the executive director of the Resnick Institute, a program for energy and sustainability at the California Institute of Technology, working to develop new ideas and research technologies related to providing a sustainable future. He spoke to us about the severity of the current drought in California and how solar energy can help prevent such situations in the future.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.