We need to figure out a way (besides oil) to fuel cars. This is not news. What is news is the innovative thinking currently being focused on solving this problem. Today’s example is a group of M.I.T. undergrads, who had the idea of harnessing the shock of hitting potholes as an energy source. Sci Am reports:
When a car’s wheel hits a hole or bump, a standard shock absorber disperses the impact energy through hydraulic fluid and moves a piston. In the M.I.T. design, the fluid is instead forced through a small turbine attached to a generator. The generator, powered by the compressions, can recharge batteries or power the vehicle’s electrical equipment. The students say that for heavy vehicles such as Hummers, the system can boost fuel efficiency from 2 to 10 percent, depending on the terrain. They have formed Levant Power Corporation to commercialize a product they are calling GenShock. Right now they are tailoring GenShock for U.S. Army vehicles and big-rig trucks, but it could possibly be adapted for passenger vehicles.
Will it work? Remains to be seen. But either way, it’s still better than ethanol.
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