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JR-East Passengers To Generate Electricity At Stations

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posted on Aug, 2 2006 @ 01:54 PM
Yet another great technology from the land of the rising sun.

The East Japan Railway Company (JR-East), as part of research
aimed at developing more environmentally friendly train stations,
is testing an experimental system that produces electricity as people
pass through ticket gates. JR claims that this sort of human-powered
electricity generation system may provide a portion of the electricity
consumed at train stations in the future.

The ticket gate electricity generation system relies on a series of
piezo elements embedded in the floor under the ticket gates,
which generate electricity from the pressure and vibration they
receive as people step on them. When combined with high-efficiency
storage systems, the ticket gate generators can serve as a clean
source of supplementary power for the train stations. Busy train
stations (and those with large numbers of passengers willing to
bounce heavily through the gates) will be able to accumulate a
relatively large amount of electricity.

JR-East, who worked with Keio University to develop the system,
claims that in addition to being put to use as an independent power
supply that does not require hardwiring, the system can also be
used as a way of measuring the traffic flow through ticket gates.

Pink Tentacle

Definately a great technology that's both, useful and environmentaly friendly.
Hopefully once the technology is totally developed it will catch on here in America in our train, monorail and subway systems.

Comments, Opinions?

posted on Aug, 2 2006 @ 02:41 PM
I think they're wildly overstating the amount of power that can be generated in this manner, and it won't take long before the griping starts.

Energy doesn't just come from nowhere. In this case, it will come from the commuters' legs. If the floor section doesn't have much "give" you won't get much energy. If it has enough "give" to generate significant amounts, then it will be tiring to walk on, like walking in sand.

posted on Aug, 2 2006 @ 03:19 PM
Ive always thought a great way to produce semi free power would be to have fans/turbines/blades next to highways and trains, wouldnt the wind from cars driving by produce enough Mega Watts to power the nation ?

We could do lots of things like this, but we dont. Wonder why ?

Other thoughts for free energy:

-Put wind driven generators at the end of runways...ive seen jets knock over cars with there turbine engines.

-Kites - IF there was a way to stabalize a kite flying, they are able to lift cars as well.
Could teather the end to a generator.

- Obvious ones that we should use:
Wave power, floating solar panels, more hydropower, Thremal Vents (australia scientist pipe water down to the depths of the earth, its comes back as steam because of the heat), methane from all the poo poo.

posted on Aug, 2 2006 @ 04:19 PM

Originally posted by Tom Bedlam
I think they're wildly overstating the amount of power that can be generated in this manner, and it won't take long before the griping starts.

Energy doesn't just come from nowhere. In this case, it will come from the commuters' legs. If the floor section doesn't have much "give" you won't get much energy. If it has enough "give" to generate significant amounts, then it will be tiring to walk on, like walking in sand.

Japanese people don't tend to overstate things.

The system is only at the ticket gates, not large parts of the station.

posted on Aug, 2 2006 @ 05:14 PM
Let's play with the math!

Some assumptions must be made:

1) the average weight of a Japanese person
2) the amount of travel the pads have at that weight
3) the efficiency of the piezoelectrics, storage and conversion electronics
4) we'll say that each person going through the turnstile will put all their weight on the pad and remove it, once
5) we'll also say that the system only extracts energy from the downstroke caused by the weight going on and off the pad

For this example, let's say the average Japanese weighs 50kG, or about 110 pounds, and at that weight the pad will depress 1 cm, or about 0.4 inches. In addition, I'll give you 100% efficiency of the system, and perfect design to extract the maximum energy from the turnstile pad.

If you just dumped the piezoelectric charge through a diode into a capacitor, for example, then the next guy to step on there wouldn't sink much: the piezoelectric material would try to push a current into the already charged capacitor and wouldn't be able to, therefore the piezo material would not depress and no additional energy would go in. I'll make the assumption that they are pumping the energy into some other storage as fast as it gets stomped into the pad.

Now. The amount of energy that a person transfers to a system by a change in gravitational potential (the weight moving through a height change) is really simple:

Energy = mgh, where m is in kg, g is 9.8m/s^2, and h is the height change in meters.

50kg * 9.8m/s^2 * .01m = 4.9 Joules.

So, each 110 pound person stepping onto and off of the pad will, under perfect conditions, transfer about 5 Joules into the system.

One kiloWatt-hour of energy is equal to 3.6 million Joules.

Therefore, if about 720,000 average Japanese walked through turnstiles, each one stepping solidly onto and then off of the pad, you'd net under perfect conditions about 1kWh.

That would run a blow dryer for an hour.

Putting paper and pencil to this stuff really takes all the mystic fun out, doesn't it?

posted on Aug, 2 2006 @ 05:33 PM
Well, I'm not gonna argue with the math, but your variables
are pretty low, and theres more than one pad hooked
to the system.

Since I'm not great at math, I can't honestly do the calculations,
but these variables are more realistic for a large station.

1. 10 pads. [cluster] (and theres probably around 10 clusters.)
2. average weight 120lbs.
3. 3million people through the terminal cluster a day, and
that's probably low.
4. And the efficieny is probably around the 90-100% range.

Also, there not saying there gonna run the station with it,
just that it will be one of the providers for power.

posted on Aug, 2 2006 @ 06:09 PM
It doesn't really matter how many pads, I'm assuming the Japanese are nimble creatures, and the entire station's flow can be channeled through one pad. That's the beauty of math.

In fact, the more spread out it is, the worse it gets, because you have to move the electricity around, and you have to account for each turnstile's losses etc, so we'll take that out, I want to make sure you get full 100% yield to your side of the issue.

And there's no way that a real system would be 90-100% efficient. Maybe, 70%.

If each person coming into the station going through a turnstile steps on this thing once, and you have 3 million per day, then you get maybe 4kWh.

I'm just saying it's one of those feel-good things. It's not a substantial amount of power.

Now, if you modify the system a bit, you can get more! Let's add some effort to it, by making the commuters climb a 3 foot ladder and leap off onto the pad. More, we'll increase the energy efficiency of the magic pad system by having it give with the step-off, and derive energy from being forced back as well as down. And let's say they're all pretty athletic and bound off the pad at 3MPH, pad relative.

Given all that, with 3 million leapers per day, now you're cooking. You're up to 425kWh per day! Alas, you don't get to keep it all. You see, the commuters are going to work up a sweat! 3 million commuters climbing ladders also produce heat. You have to pump that out to keep the building from warming. And it's not trivial, not for 3 million people doing that. Let's say you're something like 70% efficient, I don't have an exact number. That means that you'll be putting out 125kWh of heat during the day as the 30% waste product of 3 million people.

We'll say that the Carnot AC company did the cooling, and it's as good as physics allows. So, it will take 125kWh of energy to remove that 125kWh of heat. So you only netted something like 300kWh in the summer, if the building's well insulated and the outside and inside temps are about the same. In the winter, of course, you can use that to your advantage and let the climbing and jumping warm the building.

Amortizing the winter advantage, if you have everyone leaping and cavorting, you'd probably come close to netting 350-400kWh per day.

The height thing really pays off. If you had them climb 10 feet before jumping, you could get enough power to maybe run a train.

edit: I multiplied the AC power twice, that's what I get for doing it in my head first

[edit on 2-8-2006 by Tom Bedlam]

posted on Aug, 2 2006 @ 10:43 PM
I saw on science channel that the brits were doing the exact same thing except with cars on a busy highway, that makes more sense....because weigh more then people.

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