Road Ramp Generates Free Power With Renold Clutches
A road ramp that generates free electricity as cars pass over it has been developed by inventor Peter Hughes with technical support from Renold Clutches & Couplings of Cardiff. The Electro-Kinetic Ramp is capable of generating around 10kW of electricity which can then be used to power road signs, traffic lights and street lighting, or stored in batteries for future use.
The ramp is made up of metal plates in the road that move up and down, in a see-saw motion, as traffic passes over them. The movement of the plates drives a specially developed flywheel, which in turn drives a generator to produce electricity. Clutches from Renold allow two pivot arms to drive a shaft on either their downward or upward stroke and freewheel in the opposite direction. The repeated up-and-down movement of the pivot arms drives the flywheel through a gearbox, which is attached to another clutch allowing it to spin freely in-between vehicles passing over the ramp.
The concept has been developed by Mr Hughes over the last 12 years with help from Renold Clutches & Couplings when a prototype was developed at Hughes Research unit at the Westland Helicopter base in Somerset. Around 300 jobs are due to be created next year for a production run of some 2,000 ramps.