Skip to main content

Clean Energy Production through Roadway Surface Power Harvesting Systems for Increased Safety in the Transportation Sector

Periodic Report Summary 1 - POWERAMP (Clean Energy Production through Roadway Surface Power Harvesting Systems for Increased Safety in the Transportation Sector)

Project Context and Objectives:
Clean energy production through roadway surface power harvesting systems for increased safety in the transportation sector (POWERAMP) is a Research Project for the benefit of small to medium enterprises (SMEs) under the 7th Framework Program. The project involves 7 partners from 3 countries and is coordinated by D'Appolonia S.p.A. Italy. The project duration is 2 years which began in June, 2010 and will finish in May, 2012.
The project partners are:
D'Appolonia S.p.A.
Highway Energy Systems Limited
Sistemi Informativi Analisi Rischio Territoriale S.r.l.
APC Composit AB
Lamb Precision Engineering Limited
M.V.M. Sheet Metal Fabrications Limited

POWERAMP will continue the development of roadway energy harvesting systems that transfer kinetic energy from vehicles that are braking, slowing, or travelling on a downward slope into electrical energy. These systems are essentially "speed bumps" that capture energy from vehicles that pass over them. Poweramp will design, manufacture, prototype, and validate them through real world pilots. Emplaced in areas where speed must be controlled, safety must be increased, or where vehicles must come to a stop, such systems leverage the kinetic energy of thousands of kilograms moving at high rates of speed to produce energy. When a vehicle crosses the bump, it forces an arm downward that turns a generator that produces power. The height of the bumps is variable so they can be adjusted for vehicles travelling at different speeds. Systems can be built in ground or portable systems can be placed above ground. The gearing, height of the bump, vehicle speed, and vehicle weight determine the amount of energy produced and the amount of discomfort/speed control to the crossing vehicle. In addition such type of systems, when installed close to crossing areas, schools, worksites can work as safety devices for pedestrians and workers has they can control the speed of the vehicles and signalling their presence across the road by powered signs and safety lightings.
In realising and perfecting the Poweramp concept:
* There must be no disturbance to vehicles' trajectory, nor must any discomfort be experienced by vehicles passing over the system that raises safety concerns.
* The system must withstand large high velocity forces (near instantaneous loading) over hundreds of millions of fatigue cycles
* The system surface must have an anti-skid of coating which is highly durable and have a long life.
* There must be no adverse effect as a result of extremely high temperatures or very low temperatures.
* There must be no hazard to motorcycles or cyclists, pedestrians or animals.
* The mechanism must be entirely reliable and, by virtue of its design and build, must have a low-maintenance factor.
* The system must be economically viable and provide value to the owner

The following S/T objectives have been established to design, prototype, test, and validate the Poweramp systems.

* To optimize the redesign of a radically new power ramp prototype
* To develop a first generation prototype of a portable ramp system intended for crossing areas and worksites
* To capture and document the performance of the in-ground ramp system at a pilot activity
* To capture and document the performance of the portable ramp system at a pilot activity
* To increase the power production of the first generation in-ground ramp system by 40%
Project Results:
In line with the above mentioned S/T objectives, the work program and the timetable as specified by the GANTT diagram, the following results have been achieved within the 1st reporting period:
* Design specification of the "In Ground Multi Plate Ramp System" (MPRS) completed and delivered (D1.1)
* Components prototypes of the MPRS designed and developed. They include: Kinetic Plates (KPs); Rocker Frame assembly with a central pivot; Push Rods and Torque Arms. (D1.2 D3.1)
* Preliminary Life Cycle Analysis of the MPRS (D1.4)
* Technical Specifications of the "Portable Ramp System" (PRS) completed and delivered. (D2.1)
* Preliminary design of the PRS concept and components completed. (D2.2)
* Power optimization components prototypes process completed with reference to materials optimization (adoption of lightweight composite components and ceiling), evaluation of the adoption of Magnetic Bearings and assessment of the Variable Geometry Flywheel benefits. (D3.1)
* Power optimization measures and management systems analysis conceived. (D3.3)
* Project Webpage set-up and updated. (D5.1)
* Project Brochure released. (D5.1)
* Plan for disseminating and using the knowledge released. (D5.2)
* Management Activities reported. (D6.1)
* Quality Assurance Plan prepared and released. (D6.2)
* Knowledge Sharing Portal set-up and updated. (D6.3)
Potential Impact:
In line with POWERAMP purpose which is to design, manufacture, prototype, and validate through real world pilots energy harvesting speed bumps that capture energy from vehicles that pass over the ramps, the following results are expected to be achieved by the project:

1. In Ground System Prototype
2. Portable System Prototype
3. Advanced Material Technologies
4. Variable Geometry Flywheel Prototype
5. Maintenance and Performance Management Systems

The impact of the Poweramp results is in the development and improvements in power production from roadway energy harvesting systems. Poweramp will use the traffic as an untapped source of renewable energy and clean power. Renewable, because vehicles traffic and roadways are here for the foreseeable future. Clean, because the energy can be harvested from passing vehicles when positioned as intended. It is expected in two years by the end of the project to release for commercial application the MPRS and PRS systems, systems installations and maintenance, consultant services for roadway energy harvesting. This will allow giving new input to roadway energy harvesting and capturing a fraction of the clean energy market. Of only the 5% of this market can be reached by roadway energy harvesting solutions, this means a potential turnover of 2 billion euro/year across Europe. This means that there is a huge potential for Europe to become the leader in such technologies. This will increase the competitiveness of the EU in the construction industry, manufacturing, energy, and green technologies.