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NE Grad Wins Big Ideas@Berkeley

Thursday, Feb 28th 2013

Congratulations to NE Grad Tuan Hoang and his collaborators Hanh-Phuc Le (EECS) and Long Tran (CEE, Transportation) who were awarded 1st place ($5000) in the Clean & Sustainable Energy Alternatives category of the Big Ideas@Berkeley contest for their entry PT-EGen: Harnessing the Energy of Moving Cars.  Their project was among 37 chosen from over 160 submissions received from several UC campuses.

They propose to build a device that can be installed on streets, favorably downhill sections of steep hills like those in SF or Berkeley hills, or on highway exits, to slow down cars leaving the highways. These devices can also replace current speed bumps at areas needing traffic calming devices such as schools, hospitals, etc. and many other scenarios. These devices would be installed in modules and not cause drastic changes to current roads. When vehicles run over the devices, they will be pressed down and the energy collected will be stored in the type of elastic energy of the coils and  converted to electricity stored in batteries for later use. This device is not a "clean" device since energy is harnessed from vehicles moving on the roads, however, there are situations where these devices can bring favorable consequences. Highways are the best places to implement this idea since drivers may complain about the energy they are giving up, although extremely small. Policy and licensing are the biggest hurdle.