State-of-the-Art Speed Bumps Generate Power

Oct 15, 2009

Maryland-based New Energy Technologies is introducing what they hope will be the next great green technology: a speed bump that generates electricity from every car that drives over it.


According to president and chief executive of New Energy Technologies Meetesh Patel, a car that passes over the ramp pushes down embedded actuators below the surface that are attached to a generator.  For now, the company isn’t saying exactly how much power the MotionPower device generates or how it works, but driving over the ramp does activate a light that confirms power is being generated.


The device is being tested this week at the Four Seasons hotel in Washington, D.C.  Liliana Baldassari, a spokeswoman for the Four Seasons, said the temporary trial may lead to a permanent installation later on. “It makes so much sense, and if it could power some of our hotel that would be fantastic,” she said. “We’re always looking for ways to be greener.” That includes offering guests hybrid cars for airport pickups and drop-offs.


The Four Seasons trial is the second field test of MotionPower.  Over Labor Day weekend, a unit was installed in a Burger King drive-through in Hillside, N.J.  data from that test allowed New Energy Technologies to make design improvements prior to the current test.


The idea behind the MotionPower is to capture kinetic energy that would otherwise be wasted and use it to help businesses offset their operating expenses.  It could also be used to power road signs or streetlights.  A side benefit of the device is the traffic-slowing effect of a normal speed bump.


New Energy Technologies hopes to have the MotionPower on the market within one to two years at a cost of $1,500 to $2,000 a unit, Mr. Patel said. He estimates that one unit would pay for itself in electricity savings within two or three years.


Photo courtesy of snapzdc under the Creative Commons License.