Kinetic Energy: Energy in Motion
Kinetic energy is the energy that exists within moving bodies. Nature produces kinetic energy in the form of wind and ocean tides that can be tapped into to provide us with energy. However, new research on kinetic energy is focusing on tapping into the energy created by human motion and vehicular traffic as a power source.
Research in Japan and England has centered around using the pressure elicited by human footsteps onto the ground to create power. The Tokyo station in Tokyo, Japan draws thousands of fast-paced walkers, busy to make it to their destination. They have installed what are known as Hatsudenyuka tiles, tiles that can convert the pressure of passing commuters into energy for light fixtures and potentially ticketing machines display panels. The tiles utilize plezoelectricity, the ability of some materials to convert applied force into electric potential. The same is true in England, where engineers at the University of Leeds are trying to use ceramics and crystals to create plezoelectricity.
Vehicles use the same technology to create electric potential from plates installed under moving vehicles in places like parking lots. Kinetic road plates were installed at the Gloucester Quay store in Slainsbury, England.
All of these technologies are on a trial period, but New Energy Technologies is banking on MotionPower technology as a source of power in the future. The technology can be used like a speed bump or rumble strip to generate power.
It will be interesting to see how these technologies are incorporated into items we use. To find out more, check out OpenEI.org for more information on kinetic energy and related projects and news.