Decelerating vehicles lose notable amounts of kinetic energy as heat when the brakes are applied, thus wasting precious fossil fuels. Hybrid vehicles and Formula 1 racecars have the ability to recover part of this energy through the use of kinetic energy recovery systems (KERS) but in the future, conventional vehicles may be able to contribute to energy conservation as a technology known as MotionPower literally hits the road.
New Energy Technologies, Inc. (Columbia, MD) is the company behind the technology, which takes two forms depending on wheel size. For cars and light vehicles, a series of metal mechanical treadles are installed in the road bed. When vehicles pass over them, the treadles are depressed, thereby converting some of the car's excess rolling kinetic energy into sustainable electrical while also helping to slow the vehicle down. Systems can be embedded into roadway surfaces at toll-plazas, drive-thrus, border crossings, traffic calming areas, and other high traffic sites where vehicles slow down. Durability tests conducted on New Energy's first phase prototype have been carried out at a Burger King franchise in Hillside, NJ, and the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, DC....