Sunday, January 11, 2009

Fuel efficiency - it's on

The article itself discusses research into using the up-and-down motion of shock absorbers to create electrical energy.

The line that most excites me is when the suggestion is made that "In the quest for renewable, sustainable energy for transport, no moving part will escape the gaze of scientists."

And it makes sense, doesn't it? If there is a component or part that, in the normal activity of doing what it does, it can also do something else, namely contribute to generating energy, we're going to find it, and put it to work.

I've always suggested that every vehicle should have a "windmill" in its front grill/air dam since highway speeds translate to winds hitting the front fascia at gale-force speeds.

I've oft wondered why the panels on cars and trucks (roof, hood, trunk, doors...) can't be made to get energy from the sun. Not that a car could be powered solely on solar power, but could it provide 10% of the required power during operation, and also charge batteries when parked during the day?

I recently had a crazy thought - can the skin of a car be made to create static electricity from the friction of flowing though air? Probably not, but never forget that friction not only generates heat but, in certain circumstances, static electricity. If we understood this better, perhaps we could find an opportunity to get something from static.

In other words, once a car is in motion, so many things are happening that can themselves create energy, we should be tapping whatever we can.

This idea of using the shock absorbers' natural motion which is always happening while the vehicle is in motion, gets really exciting when I think of trucks on the road - the more axles, the more shocks, the more energy that can be generated to help them out, reduce fuel costs, etc...the less cost on our store shelves for our goods...

Scientists, engineers, and auto manufacturers should never say they're bored or have nothing to work on. There's so much opportunity to improve, so many areas for further understanding and development, that finding a way to bring them to market is almost an ethical obligation.

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