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Cars Driving Through Sainsbury’s Parking Lot Generate Power

parking-lotA pilot parking lot project by UK retailer Sainsbury’s generates electricity when cars drive over metal plates in the parking lot.

Energy is captured through the up-and-down action of the metal plates, generating electricity.

When cars drive over the plates, up to 30 kWh of electricity is generated per hour, or enough to power the supermarket’s checkout registers, according to the Guardian UK. The concept comes from the idea of piezoelectric roadways.

The technology is on display at Sainsbury’s new store in Gloucester Quays, Gloucester. In addition to this sustainable feature, the store also will collect rainwater to flush its toilets, while solar thermal panels will heat nearly 100 percent of the store’s hot water during the summer. While the store was being constructed,  in excess of 90 percent of the construction waste was re-used or recycled.

Earlier this year, Sainsbury’s announced its plan to divert all UK food waste away from landfill to a biomass plant by this summer.

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7 thoughts on “Cars Driving Through Sainsbury’s Parking Lot Generate Power

  1. This is a very inefficient way to generate energy and it is also making their customers pay for it:
    – The energy needs to come from somewhere – it has to be generated by the vehicles to begin with. Would you use you car’s engine to power your home?
    – The energy generated by the vehicles engine comes from the gasoline that the customer has paid for.

  2. Given that the customer is already paying for the gas regardless this system or not, why not find a way to utilize otherwise wasted energy? If the cost of the system and its maintenance can be justified over time, then this is a vast improvement over nothing at all. This is essentially no different than energy recovery wheels on buildings or the brakes generating electricity in hybrid vehicles, except that the recovered energy is used for a non-source item (the registers).

  3. Basic law of conservation of energy. If plates installed in desend, some of potential energy could be converted to work. If plates installed in horizontal or plane, than due to inefficiency of energy conversion, system overall will consume rather than generate energy.

  4. You would be right in a perfect world where customers don’t have to manage their own slowing down and this system fully and reliably takes care of that. That also assumes that customers don’t drive hybrids and would thus not like to store their own braking energy. In addition, this will increase the amount of energy required to get going again, since some of that energy will be siphoned off by Sainsbury.

  5. I love the unique ideas like this but something as simple as installing a geothermal heating and cooling system could reduce a buildings energy use by up to half.

  6. If my car is going to push down a rocker, my car first has to climb on top of it, so my car is essentially climbing a hill which collapses my a fixed distance, and the hiull is collapsing in segments. My engine makes my car climb those rockers, I purchase the fuel to make the car climb. If you integrate the energy my car consumes here, I think you’ll see that my car uses less energy on a flat paved surface, and thus the climbing action provides the cheapskate store with their “free” energy.

  7. If you are robbing useful energy from the car, this is an extremely inefficient way to produce energy. Internal combustion engines are a very inefficient way of converting hydrocarbons to electricity compared with conventional power plants, and this system would appear, at first glance, to be an inefficient way of using an internal combustion engine to produce electricity.

    The only way this could make sense is if it were in an area where one could be certain that all cars would be braking, such as a steep downhill.

    I doubt the idea is really a sound method of producing energy in a parking lot. My guess is that it substantially increases hydrocarbon use compared with simply using power from a coal, oil, or natural gas fired power plant.

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