Gallery: Magneter: Magnetic Highway Harvests Kinetic Energy From Cars T...


Using highways to generate kinetic energy from cars is not a new idea, but designer Fang-Chun Tsai has put a twist on it. He proposes using the kinetic energy from speeding cars to change a magnetic field to generate electricity. The system could be easily installed in existing cars, and it could pave the way towards a self-sufficient energy grid.

The Magneter system would see cars fitted with a magnetic device on the underside of the chassis. As a vehicle drives, it would charge an electricity generating device that would be installed on the road. The system does not require a generator and would create electricity for whatever systems needed it. The system could also be used on rail and subway lines. The concept would also work hand in hand with a Smart Grid. The system allows energy to be stored and diverted to areas when it is needed during as peak power times.

The best part about this system is that it looks like the installation of a magnetic device would be relatively simple. A quick job in the garage is all that would be necessary to outfit most cars with one – my main concern is the work needed to install these magnetic strips on the nation’s highways. While it is a great idea, it is almost as ‘pie in the sky’ as the solar highway concept.

+ Magneter (Yanko Design)

Lead photo © scot63us


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  1. malliet September 23, 2011 at 3:16 am

    Could someone please remove this post? It is highly suggestive that free energy can be created. This might develop unrealistic expectations.

    As for the wind turbines along highways, I believe they do use truly wasted energy as the air is being put in motion anyway by passing cars. Technically it would be harder to push air away if the air is blocked very close to the car because it then gets compressed. But a wind turbine stands at a few meters away and does not have such an impact on the car.

    As for the cars running on water by electrolysis. This is not really running on hydrogen, it still uses ordinary fuel but a small amount of hydrogen is added that acts as an additive to improve the combustion of the fuel. In this way it does improve mileage without being a perpetum mobile. This works in particular on older and inefficient engines. On newer engines the impact might even be negative due to the power use to create the hydrogen. Or did you mean truly hydrogen cars?

  2. Robert Anderson September 3, 2011 at 11:18 am

    Four words, Timon: “Second Law of Thermodynamics”.

  3. caeman September 2, 2011 at 8:54 am

    I am all for capturing wasted energy, but this is capturing active energy. Bad plan.

  4. BruceS September 1, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    Bizarre concept – ranks up there with running cars on water (via electrolysis) etc. The only place such a concept would have any value would be in situations where the vehicle would need to slow down. Some sort of external regenerative braking system (say motorway off ramps etc.) or a driver initiated action (ie braking the vehicle) would activate it – but otherwise?

  5. zeppflyer September 1, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    @jamesonbrent – That was my thought as well. They’re not clear on exactly how the magnet moves but, TANSTAAFL. This would have to create a drag on the car.

    I’ve wondered the same thing about those proposals for wind turbines along roads. It seems like they would just pick up wasted turbulence, but is it? Do they make it harder for cars to move air out of the way?

  6. jamesonbrent September 1, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    So we reduce the fuel economy of vehicles to power the electric grid? This is like the reverse of electric vehicles, powering the electric grid from gasoline engines, not the right direction.

  7. tulse September 1, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    I really wish that folks would better understand basic physics, and the fact that energy doesn’t come from nowhere. The kinetic energy of cars is not “free” energy, but is needed for the cars’ motion, and anything that takes away that energy means that the cars will just have to work harder (i.e., burn more gas) to keep their speed. (Brakes also “harvest” the kinetic energy of cars, and turn it into heat, or in the case of regenerative brakes, back into power for the car, but either way, they slow the car down.)

    This is just a grossly inefficient way to burn gas to generate electricity — one would be far better off burning the same amount of fuel in a dedicated, properly tuned, efficient power plant. As the saying goes, in physics “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch”.

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