Alternative Energy

Alternative Energy

Alternative energy news, and information about renewable energy technologies.

Jun 19

Harnessing the Power of Highways

Posted in Energy Inventions | Transportation

Highway Power KinergyPower is a new form of alternative energy which is also an example of distributed generation. KinergyPower was invented by two brothers Stefanos and Dimitri Horianopolous in Greece in 2002. Their system uses a series of hydraulic pistons to absorb the kinetic energy from the motion of traffic and transform it into hydraulic pressure. This pressure powers a hydro-generator unit which produces electricity. KinergyPowerUSA was established in September 2005 and is based in Bedford, NY. It is headed by a management team that includes local Westchester business executives Demetri and Susan Papacostas.

Kinergy Power USA | Technical Synopsis | Applications and Uses

“Wherever there is motion, there is potential for KinergyPower. Trucks, automobiles, trains, and even people all generate some level of kinetic energy. The heavier and more consistent the traffic, the greater the wasted energy and the greater the potential for KinergyPower. Our technology is the key to capturing and harvesting this energy in an efficient and economical way.”

  • fayette

    You can’t just create energy for no cost. The demo above shows me that the cost of generating the energy is passed on to motorist. Sure it may only cost a single motorist a small amount to drive over this, but in the end it is like putting a gas/diesel generation station online with all the carbon footprint to go with it.

    Also this does not seem to be as reliable as we need power generation to be. I just can’t imagine this not breaking down causing traffic disruptions when repairs are needed.

    What about safety? Are they safe for motorcycles? What about a car on the edge of the carpet? What about traction?

    What about snow plows in the winter? Will they be able to plow the surface in the winter? Willroad salt mess up the mechanics of the rug or cause fast corrosion? will ice build up causing it to stop working or break.

  • Energyzed

    Having researched the above technology I am sold and I am very excited they are getting going. The Kinergypower technology is installed in areas where vehicles must slow down. The applications are endless from exit ramps to toll bridges to drive-thrus to security gates on and on and on. Currently this energy is wasted on the brakes and as heat on the road.

    Additionally the whole mechanism is covered by a surface material that is exactly the same granularity as existing surfaces so no safety issues.

    Technology permits snow plows or emergency vehicles to carry a chip that flattens the mechanism to create a smooth surface. They also have found a way to use some of the energy in the winter to heat up the surface so there is no snow or ice accumulation.

    It is really very brilliant.

  • Aaron

    I thought readers of this site would be smarter than this. This idea is not woth the computer graphic used to sell it.

    Dumb. dumb. dumb.

  • Jeremy Goodell

    I live in Southern California and spend lots of time on freeways with thousands of motorists speeding in both directions on 4, 5 and even 6 lanes in each direction. L.A. freeways are packed 24/7. I have long wondered how hard it would be to recapture some of the energy lost on freeways. Think of the energy sources: wind, motion, carbon emissions, even light. It’s foolish and short-sighted to think that freeways could not be a valuable long-term alternative energy source. Simply putting wind turbines at ground level in the medians and on the sound containment walls would generate a substantial amount of energy in L.A.

    See my blog for more info on alternative energy and other issues:

  • Ralph Higginbotham

    Ever hear of the first law of thermodynamics? All this does is steal kinetic energy from the cars. Kinetic energy that was produced by combustion of gasoline bought and paid for by the driver. Sounds like theft to me!

  • Saul Wall

    If this is intended for exit ramps then it is an external source of “regenerative breaking” which is fine for cars without regenerative breaking but a small burden one those who have hybrid or electric cars which do. since they would not be reclaiming quite as much as they normally would.

    I often get the impression that these projects are intended for far more than just off ramps. The media glowingly describes them as if they were going in to intersections and city streets. Even if they were placed before an intersection, they would still steal energy from those cars that had just seen the traffic open up at a green light ahead and were accelerating. I am not saying it is a bad idea but it needs to be used very selectively.

  • Saul Wall

    I wonder how the cost would compare with just putting a string of solar panels or even small wind turbines along the dividers of highways.

  • Perry

    What about the Hydraulics are they not unreliable if one section goes down there goes the whole deal.

  • dylan

    This is quite satisfying, Ive had this same idea in my head for quite a while, brilliant to see it in motion.

  • Trent

    In terms of theft of energy, I have 2 comments.

    1 – You can consider it a small toll for using the roads. It is simply the price you pay for not building your own road.

    2 – Would you consider the slope of an on ramp theft? It “steals” energy to raise you higher.

  • brandon s

    This message is for Aaron:

    If you plan to make such a direct accusation, back it up with an argument! The thought put into this technology trumps the thought you put into your post; and judging by your post, more thought than you have given over the span of your life.

  • Alex R

    This technology is obviously very debatable. I agree with Saul Wall. I wonder how the cost and energy output of this technology would compare to solar panels or even wind turbines. There is always going to be some setback to a technology as complicated as this. Why not simply line the highways with wind turbines to harness wind from passing cars…maybe because having wind turbines lining the roads is a tad dangerous…I’m not exactly sure. Concerning the comment of Trent: when you consider this technology as a small toll for using the roads, you have to consider the fractions of gasoline that will be used to get over the hydraulic pumps. In the end, you are simply burning gasoline to create energy which is not a solution at all.

  • Alex R

    But, if you only put these hydraulic pumps where people are slowing down, and in essence, they are simply acting as brakes, then I am interested in figuring out how much energy can be harnessed and whether or not it would be cost efficient.

  • Energyzed

    From Wikipedia, the Kinetic Energy in a moving vehicle is 1/2*(mass)*(velocity)squared. So a loaded truck weighting 36,000 kg traveling at only 40mph or 18 meters per second generates 5.8 million joules of energy. 1/2*36,000*18^2

    Then go to google and see how many KWH 5.8 million joules of energy is and you get 1 Joule = 2.77777777777778E-07 Kilowatt Hours or 1.62KWH. Then think about the millions of trucks a day that have to come to a complete stop multiple times a day.

  • donquixote

    Oh my goodness, what a dumb idea. You’re stealing energy from the cars to make your own electricity. Don’t forget your conservation of energy laws. If you are absorbing energy from the cars, they have to spend that much extra energy to keep going the normal speed. Sure this would work in generating electricity but you’re stealing from people.

  • johnk

    I just read this entry and was somewhat taken aback by the negativity in some of the comments. I had made an entry in the free energy forum entitled “Free energy from the nations highway system”. I asked if anyone might know if this idea had already been invented and what others thought of the idea. I received varied comments, as one would expect. But, as to the comments here, it kind of reminds me of my high school history class where Columbus was denigrated for believing the world was round. I fail to see how someone who clearly should be forward thinking, evidenced by the fact that they are here reading this data, would be so negative. I believe that negative thinking is the worst waste of energy. Energy which cannot be reclaimed. I don’t know how to use a negative to prove a positive. I must have missed that one in logic class. Anyway. I believe the concept has merit and am happy to know someone is already working on the idea and will continue to watch.

    Johnk Ormond Fl.

  • johnk

    I would like to post an after thought concerning the idea I previously referred to in my own post. In order to visualize the concept which I portrayed you must picture millions of square miles of surface area on top of millions of square miles of contained hydraulic fluid under the substrait of the road. This fluid would be literally squeezed and routed through generators which would convert the energy into electricity. This fluid would be very shallow. Maybe only quarter of an inch deep, broken down into say 100 ft. long sections, over thousands of miles of highway. In the event of a failure it would not effect the thousands of other systems. An implanted devise could send a signal to a central control system which would result in a crew being sent to initiate a repair. Much as any other road crew would be sent. The up and down compression of any given section of the highway would be so slight as to make little or no effect on the fuel usage of the vehicles passing over. Yet the capture of the free released energy wasted by the passing vehicles would more than make up for any increased usage of fuel. A vehicle passing from a smooth recently paved highway to an old rough section of the same highway would, in my opinion waste more fuel from passing motor vehicles. By the way this energy would be purchased by electric companies and the proceeds would be used to maintain the infrastructure of the highway ultimately saving us tax payers money. Think about it.

    John K Ormond fl

  • Jasper

    I have to say, I’m also skeptical about the maintenance of this technology and whether or not its feasible. However, the science is sound. The kinetic energy used here is the vertical kinetic energy caused by the weight of the vehicle. This is used to push the spring downwards. Now to get to the next spring, there is a small diagonal increase with both a vertical and horizontal component. The small horizontal component is probably very small and negligible in terms of total horizontal kinetic energy lost. In this sense, a car or semi might be able to slow down or speed up much as they did before, since most of the energies lost to momentum. Yes conservation of energy dictates that some energy is lost, but as I stated…it probably is negligible. It’d certainly have to be for this to be feasible.

  • Thrandruil

    I have read the comments, positive and negative, and I have made a general consensus of this new, totally original idea. Technically, it should work, if people stop throwing garbage into the street, and so, this implementation would work in cleaner cities. Installing this in, say, the suburbs of New York City, or San Fransisco, would be a waste of resources, even with the thousands of commuters everyday. And, to make things clear, this will not solve the dent in the atmosphere vehicles are putting up there everyday. It is just a solution for the fossil fuel power plants that are also emitting the GH gases. This solution is two faced, and has 2 or 3 possible outcomes and everyone comes to understand:

    1: It will work and the implementations of harnessing kinetic energy is a breakthrough, and reduces the need for fossil fuels greatly. This will bring down gas prices slightly and for a short time, buy us time to find a solution to the motor vehicle issue.

    2: It will fail miserably and just increase US debt (if funded by the government, which will most probably happen) or put some investors in the red zone, in terms of finance, threatening the economy and probably bringing the US into supreme debt, causing inflation, etc etc.

    3: Just another branch in the future tree, for some unexpected turn of events that might happen. One of them, for example might be that this new implementation is transformed into the next great thing, and somehow can be so widespread that it is the solution to all our issues! It can be implemented around the world, generating all the electricity we need, including our new electric cars, that use resonance frequency, and by driving through a station, can ‘absorb’ the power it needs for the drive to the next. Or some outstanding theory like that.

  • Leah

    How is it stealing energy when the power goes back into peoples homes, creates a better environment, and saves coal workers?

  • Trent

    If people know about it, it isn’t theft any more than a toll road is theft.

    I say someone build one and see what the actual return on investment is. Until then, the debate is theoretical.

  • Jasper

    On the topic of “stealing”, this system clearly uses energy that your car generates rather than take it forcefully. It is all done with the users consent in much the same way we all use friction (which steals energy, so to speak) to propel ourselves forward. This is all done at the users expense, but again with his or her consent. The government, by means of the US constitution has the ability to develop this for interstate highways, but local governments would have to implement it on state highways. Life isn’t always fair, so the bottom line is, if you don’t like it, then find an alternate route to get to where you want to be.

  • john k

    When I submitted this idea, I figured I might get some positive and some negative feed back. I am fine with comments on the idea. What I was hoping for was to find someone with an engineering background who could advise on a mechanism which would harness this lost energy. I still believe the answer is in a hydraulic grid system under the highway which takes advantage of the weight of vehicles passing overhead. Someone suggested wind turbines along the highway. I think that idea has merit and could work in concert with my idea. Anyone with a engineering and physics background, comments please.
    John K

  • Bag

    Some of you cry babies, kill me. “Steeling power”, what are you talking about; this is like us saying you’re oxygen thieves. Get a hold of yourselves, maybe you should go cry to your local news paper, it’s quite obvious you’re pushed around and told what to do. Who wants to listen to your wasteful comments? We do not. People with entrepreneurial minds work hard for these goal driven ideas, and for someone to be as negative as some of you are looked upon as DREAM RECKERS. This is an awesome source of kinetic energy, for now and the immediate future, I am actually a little sad I found this group of geniuses only because I have been working on a similar idea or very close to the same concept, of harnessing power and transferring the electricity onto the utility grid. I agree, Hydraulics is the way of the future for this power harnessing application. A final word For all the negative oxygen thieves, Thank you, I will continue developing my own innovative Hydraulic power grids.

  • styles1005

    Hello, but this is entirely feasible; especially so if they can develop electric cars. Use some of the energy for powering electric cars, and you can reduce the cost of doing so, allowing them to drive more often on roads carpeted with this.. Now don’t quote the First Law of Thermodynamics at me, I know this is still a loss of energy, but if you don’t put all the energy gained into powering electric cars (which, by making it more feasible for the average family to own an electric car, also solves some of the emissions problems) you’re still putting energy into the system. Of course, I’m assuming two things here: (1) that electric cars will make up a majority of transport in the future, and (2) that, rather than people charging up their own cars, there will be ‘charging stations’, like modern gas stations. Oh and then there’s the fact that has been commented on several times here that, if put where people are likely to slow down, it could actually be beneficial, and especially so if put in places where people are likely to stop (parking lots, driveways etc.,) and no, you wouldn’t be making it so that people had to use more energy to get moving again if this carpet was put in only the parking spaces in these driveways/parking lots. Well actually you would, but it would be negligible (very, very small, for all of you non-geeks and normal people out there).

  • anythinginthere

    Wow, some of you have to know you have no idea what your talking about, so why would you leave such stupid comments. This theory has serious potential!

  • Stan

    Wow! Another perpetual motion device! People, wake up! This is the stupidest idea on this site so far. Burning gasoline in cars, shifting this energy via transmission, to wheels, to road to power the hydraulic generator is dumb even if such generator was 100% efficient. And, also, placing “bumps” in braking areas of the road is just dangerous.

    I have a better idea. Why don’t we legislate the mandatory use of hand generators? Say, everyone has to charge one 2500mAh battery a day with it and return it to collection point, where an empty battery will be delivered for charge. Every day, 360 days a year, 300 mln. people. Wow! And we would have stronger hands also!

  • Trent Collicutt

    Yes, I’ve seen all the news programs doing their reports on “Death by Speedbump”. I hear it has passed cancer as a leading worry among the American public.

  • KAH

    Wow, this thing really divides us, doesn’t it.. I have just a few things to shortly mention.

    1. If my memory serves me right, there is an established system in England for powering flood indicators with wind energy got from passing trains. Notice, that there is very, very little potential in it.

    2. Momentum doesn’t have effect: The up-down movement still gets all the energy from the car fuel.

    3. If put in a place where MOST OF THE TIME people slow down, NOT stop, the thingie does not steal energy. (Easy to find those places, though?)

  • Dream Wrecker

    Leave it to the Greeks and their conquered civilization to come up with another nit wit energy producing device like this one. Okay, the technology is sound and it does do all that it says it does, but at what cost and for how long before Moore’s Law overtakes it and it suddenly becomes obsolete in a year or two later.

    This is just pure boon-doggle fantasy on the part of its inventors and investors. They do like so many other energy designers do by preying on the collective ignorance (and 65 IQ) of the policy making bubble-heads in Washington to get them to buy into it, implement the technology with huge tax-payer revenues and then leave us all holding the bag in a few years when other cost-effective energy technologies become available.

    Even if the technology is never utilized (thank Zeus) these folks will still enjoy a healthy pay day and they know it. As usual the only people who would benefit from this technology will be the ones that manage a way to get it in place before the rest of us realize what’s really going on here. Can you imagine how much it would cost to purchase, install and maintain a system like this?

    Just another half-measure to a band-aid solution that is on the same par as wind and solar PV, which are also likely to become obsolete soon after squandering billions to subsidize these industries. I suggest the technology be used, if at all, in driveways to supplement power to ornamental solar PV outdoor lighting for our homes, then we’ll see if it merits further use beyond that, which is doubtful. The Greeks should really stick to what they do best, counting olives, not dollars.

  • Trent

    “Trying is the first step towards failing. The lesson is never try” – Home Simpon

  • midhun

    Would not this traveling up and down cause cars to use more fuel and lead to greater emissions. This system would only act as an additional tax on drivers.

  • midhun

    There is an awful lot of energy in fuel tanks around the world stopping people from driving cars would be much more better he he… we’re only tapping a percentage of the energy in a car.

  • shorer

    Brilliant idea. The wonderful thing about this idea is that it can work because we live on Earth. As somebody before mentioned, it utilizes vertical energy, or the weight of the car–essentially, gravity pushing down on the car. If the idea was for a car to pull a heavy object across the road, then yes, we’d be losing as much energy as we’re gaining. But with the Earth’s gravity (thank god we’re not living on Mars), and the fact that it’s only being used in areas where drivers are stopping anyway, there is a definite potential for significant energy gain. Gasoline propels the car forward, not down, which is where the energy gain is coming from.

    As many people have said, there may be cost and maintenance issues, but that’s what people said about paving the nation’s roads. Look how far that whining got them.

    Additionally, why not apply this idea, on a smaller scale, to crowded New York City sidewalks? Then, the energy gained would be strictly voluntary; you don’t like it? Walk on the other side of the road… or in the middle of it.

    But wait, then we’d be STEALING people’s precious calories without their permission, and that’s unacceptable.

  • Eddie

    the negative comments here about “stealing” energy is just completely absurd.

    Millions of people drive on roads every day. You are driving anyway and yes you are spending money on gas to fuel your vehicles. Fact is you are spending that money on a means to get you back and forth to places for your personal interest.
    the notion that this is stealing is just stupid.

    What I do disagree with is that this energy is funneled back into the power grids at some point. but do the power companies o local municipalities give us a break on our taxes for this type of system being in place? NO, the most certainly do not. With the introduction of such a system the monetary gains should be passed back to the residents of the locales where they are installed. Instead they would use this to supplement their own pockets in local government.

    this is the part that I disagree with. this energy could be sold back to power companies to assist in the funding of road projects thereby reducing the amount of taxes local governments should charge residents. But this will never happen because dollar for dollar the Fed matches state gov’s in the money they spend for these projects. If they don;t spend it then they don;t get it back from year to year.

    this is the only problem I have with this, but it is not at the system level where the problem is but within your own local and state governments.

  • jkiiel1

    I still believe my original idea has merit. I will admit I do not pretend to have the answers to the details of how this could be implemented. I posted this comment a couple of years ago, and have not looked at the responses for some time now until I just received an email that someone made a recent comment about it. I leave it to others to figure out the details. However with regard to the person who said the energy saved would never end up benefiting us the tax payers, I would suggest that that would have to be a requirement of the overall investment that the benefits would find their way to the public, particularly the drivers who are using the road. I believe it can be done. My only purpose was to suggest a way that we might recapture some our energy investment that might be wasted. Recently the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico reminds us that we need to think of ways to escape our dependence on oil as a primary energy source. John Kiel Daytona Beach Florida

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