Speedbumps or electricity generators? How about both?

As a civilization, we're a pretty wasteful bunch. We aren't just talking about the number of uneaten chicken McNuggets disposed of every day, either. We allow untold volumes of kinetic energy to go sailing out into the ether; energy we could use to power any number of electricity-grubbing objects in our lives. New Energy Technology aims to change that, at least when it comes to speed bumps. The company recently tested its MotionPower Express system in Roanoke, Virginia. As a vehicle passes over the contraption, its tires depress treadles that capture kinetic energy and convert it to electricity.

Over the course of six hours, 580 vehicles passed over the high-tech speed bump, which generated enough power to illuminate a 150-square-foot electric billboard for about a day. The company says that the technology is ideal for construction zones and other temporary signs, though permanent installations are also possible. A similar MotionPower system was tested at a Burger King in 2009.

As of right now, electricity is cheap enough that we have to wonder how long a system like this would need to pay for itself, but we like how it turns slowing down into useable energy. There's no word on the MotionPower Express system costs, but we can imagine that it isn't cheap, and the fact that we've seen similar ideas pop up before from Kinergy's Kinerbumps and Dragon Power, only to fade away without fanfare, makes us think we won't be seeing MotionPower Express systems all around us any time soon.

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