The Technological Institute of Tuxtepec (Ittux) that is part of National Technological of Mexico (Tecnm) – has developed a prototype of a speed bump on streets or highways capable of generating clean electricity.
The model integrates two hydraulic cylinders that harness the kinetic energy of the car to pump pressurized oil and place it in a hydraulic accumulator that sets an engine in motion, which is responsible for driving an electric generator, according to the information by the Information Agency of the National Council for Science and Technology of Mexico, CONACYT.
“The pumped oil is stored under pressure in the hydraulic accumulator and once this is filled, it triggers a directional valve controlling the hydraulic motor and this, in turn, drives the electric generator. To operate, the prototype has a hydraulic circuit where check valves, accumulator and directional valves interact, and a hydraulic motor which is what eventually will drive the electrical generator, “said Hugo Pacheco, a professor of Ittux, who led the team of engineering students who have developed the model at Tuxtepec Institute of Technology.
Once the vehicle passes through the speed bump, two springs integrated in the mechanical model returns it back to its initial position while the cylinders are extended. Thanks to this, the process is repeated indefinitely.
Clean energy generation
Martin Julian Fernandez Cueto, head of the Mechanical Metal Department of Ittux said that the amount of energy generated by the speed reducer is sufficient to power devices such as mobile phones, laptops and electronic tablets.
In addition, he stressed the need to consider alternative energy sources like this, because conventional sources harm the environment, as is the case when burning fossil fuels in thermal power plants or radioactive contamination at nuclear power plants.
“The fact of being a clean energy generating source makes its construction is justifiable, besides being economical and not causing environmental pollution. It also contributes to research on new electricity generating sources, in order to its eventual implementation at industrial level to achieve energy at low cost, “he said.
The first phase of the project included computer assisted design to assess dimensions while in the second stage the prototype was built and stress tests were carried out such as the finite element method, which consists of a numerical process that helps know in depth their physical behavior.
The prototype is available at the Laboratory of Electromechanics of Ittux and is used by students as teaching equipment for testing energy conversion; and they are also exploring the possibility of implementing it on streets and highways, and thus generate a considerable amount of electricity.