Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Power United States Science

New Jersey Turnpike As a Power Source? 264

Posted by kdawson
from the woke-up-this-morning-got-myself-a-generator dept.
New Jersites writes "New Jersey, home of the eponymous Jersey barrier, is considering wind turbines powered by the breeze generated from traffic on the Jersey Turnpike. The wind turbines won't be built on the side of the highway. They will be built inside — what else? — the Jersey barriers. By replacing sections of solid concrete with Darius turbines, they might be able to harvest enough energy to power a light-rail line."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

New Jersey Turnpike As a Power Source?

Comments Filter:
  • Drag? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Graham MacRobie (1082093) * on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @02:20AM (#18952955) Homepage

    I'm not a physicist, but won't the turbines cause a drag effect on the cars, resulting in the cars burning more fuel? Is so, aren't they just moving the problem from one place to another? There's no such thing as free energy, right?

    Truly curious - I'd love an explanation if someone knows why this isn't the case.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by TheSexican (796334)
      Yes you would be correct. This is a terrible idea.
      • Re:Drag? (Score:5, Funny)

        by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @06:35AM (#18954165)
        A better idea would be to try to harness the anger and frustration of those of us who drive the NJ Turnpike. You could really support the power grid with all that wasted energy.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by hab136 (30884)

          A better idea would be to try to harness the anger and frustration of those of us who drive the NJ Turnpike. You could really support the power grid with all that wasted energy.

          Ghostbusters II: New Jersey Edition?
        • Re:Drag? (Score:5, Funny)

          by name*censored* (884880) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @09:18AM (#18955539)
          >>A better idea would be to try to harness the anger and frustration of those of us who drive the NJ Turnpike. You could really >>support the power grid with all that wasted energy.

          >>but won't the turbines cause a drag effect on the cars, resulting in the cars burning more fuel? Is so, aren't they just >>moving the problem from one place to another? There's no such thing as free energy, right?

          Putting two and two together.. wouldn't harnessing the anger make people ANGRIER? There's no such thing as free anger!
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by yahooadam (1068736)
          >I'm not a physicist, but won't the turbines cause a drag effect on the cars, resulting in the cars burning more fuel? Is so, aren't they just moving the problem from one place to
          >another? There's no such thing as free energy, right?

          No it wouldn't cause drag on the cars

          the cars are already pushing a wall of air, ATM that wall of air just dissipates after a while, the barrier would take that wall of air and convert it to some power

          So in fact, its actually making the cars more efficient, as the wasted e
    • Re:Drag? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Rei (128717) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @02:23AM (#18952989) Homepage
      Yeah. Without the extra drag from the turbines, that "breeze" would be reducing drag on the cars. They're basically using cars as generators. Brilliant strategy there, given how inefficient ICEs are.
       
      • Re:Drag? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by dbIII (701233) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @03:24AM (#18953385)
        Yes, insightful for a given value of insight - however moving the turbines a short distance away from the things instead of doing something stupid will give you both the wind to spin the turbines and no extra drag on the vehicles. Ducting is also possible to get a lot of wind to the turbines if they are far away without reflecting much back on to the vehicles.

        I know it's not exactly high school stuff but if you think of it as simple 2D water flow it still is not difficult - the ripples from an obstruction only travel a finite distance upstream.

        • by iamacat (583406)
          Maybe so, but it would be better to blow any captured wind back towards the center of the highway and direction of the traffic. This would push the cars along and increase everyone's fuel efficiency.
        • by elrous0 (869638) *
          Oh great, now New Jersey just has to spend a few billion $ for engineering, construction, mob kickbacks, etc. to build this system. And, in the end, it will probably work about as well as Boston's Big Dig.
        • Re:Drag? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Rei (128717) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @12:31PM (#18958363) Homepage
          Any boost that the turbines are getting is resisting an equivalent amount of airflow induced by the cars, which the cars will need to reaccelerate. The further you move them away, the less work the cars you need to do, but you get correspondingly less power.

          It's a really stupid idea.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Gilmoure (18428)
            Isn't the wind from the cars currently impacting on the plain barriers now, exerting a force on them? Granted, that force isn't enough to move the barriers or even heat them appreciatively (friction) but if the wind is already there and just be deflected upwards/out towards the cars, why not harness it. It's like harnessing the wake in a channel. The boat's going to make the wake regardless of what it impacts on. Is doubtful current highway is designed for the wind wake to bounce back and power the cars goi
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by san (6716)
              > It's like harnessing the wake in a channel. The boat's going to make the wake regardless of what it impacts on.

              That would be true if there were only one car (or boat). If there is a flow of cars, those cars are going to consume less fuel if there is less drag due to an airflow.

              Exactly how that flow behaves at the edge of a freeway is fairly important for the efficiency gains: a smooth wall may actually have a beneficial effect, while turbines would do exactly the opposite.
      • Efficiency considerations aside, the first lawsuit over who that energy belongs to will kill the project stone dead.
        • by SQLGuru (980662)
          That one's easy.....the state (or federal) government.

          Reason:
          Put a clause in the traffic laws / license application that states that fact.

          Layne
    • Re:Drag? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by arivanov (12034) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @02:33AM (#18953065) Homepage
      Absolutely. This is not a free energy at all. What I find more interesting is that the system uses the same turbine design as Quiet Revolution turbines. AFAIK this design is still under a couple of patents so they will have to shell out a very sizeable license fee. Pity Quiet Revolution is not public, this would have been a good time to play with its shares.
      • Re:Drag? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Alioth (221270) <no@spam> on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @07:22AM (#18954449) Journal
        Not quite.

        The air moved around by the cars is being absorbed and dissipated anyway by the objects surrounding the road. All the turbines will do is instead of the airflow from the cars going to swish the surrounding grass, trees and bushes - it'll spin a turbine. The energy is already being absorbed by the surrounds of the road.

        It's like putting a turbine over a kettle - you won't cause the kettle to use more energy to boil the water by allowing the steam coming from it to pass through a turbine - you'll just extract some of the energy that otherwise would have been used up by the environment of the kettle.

        If it's designed correctly, it won't increase drag.
        • by MightyYar (622222)
          Grass, trees, and bushes??? Ever been on the Jersey Turnpike??? :)

          The problem is that they are talking about putting the turbines in the median strip - the Jersey barrier. This currently divides the road into two airstreams. Sure, there is some friction at the barrier that will slow the airflow, but any energy that you suck out of the airflow has to come from the traffic. What you are saying is true only if they suck only as much out as they were losing to friction anyway, which I find unlikely.
    • Re:Drag? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by deek (22697) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @02:37AM (#18953097) Homepage Journal

      I'm not a physicist, but won't the turbines cause a drag effect on the cars, resulting in the cars burning more fuel?


      You've got it right. The turbines would take energy from the air being pushed around by the cars, leading to the breeze around the car slowing down, and therefore exerting more drag on the car.

      At the same time, this is a rather ingenious way of creating a virtual toll for roads. If the power gathered is then invested into a public transport system, then you'll end up having drivers subsidise public transport. The fuel savings with public transport may well offset the extra fuel burnt through the turbine induced drag.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by ookabooka (731013)
        If the power gathered is then invested into a public transport system, then you'll end up having drivers subsidise public transport. The fuel savings with public transport may well offset the extra fuel burnt through the turbine induced drag.

        Uh, is it me or does this just seem like a bad idea. Using cars (that use combustion engines about 30% efficient) to move air and then use turbines to convert part of that to energy. . .If it was entirely passive and just collected "wasted" energy I'd be all for it. O
        • by jsoderba (105512)

          Otherwise those with more aerodynamic cars essentially have to "pay less" than other drivers??

          A more aerodynamic car will use less fuel than a less aerodynamic, but otherwise equivalent car. You would want to reward owners of such cars. Of course, this is a very round-about and inefficient way to do the same as a fuel tax. If only Americans were not conditioned to reject any proposal with the word "tax" in it...

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by schwinn8 (982110)
            We Americans would be less conditioned to reject new taxes if we had any faith that the money from these taxes wouldn't be wasted on irrelevant or unrelated things. Heck, just look at this idea - where do you think the money will come from? Likely from unrelated and irrelevant taxation of something else.

            And, even if someone does the math behind it and proves it won't work, do you think the government will listen to the logic? No, they'll just go ahead and do it anyway, because the politicians "believe" in
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by smenor (905244)

        At the same time, this is a rather ingenious way of creating a virtual toll for roads. If the power gathered is then invested into a public transport system, then you'll end up having drivers subsidise public transport.

        That's a great point I never would have thought of.

        The fuel savings with public transport may well offset the extra fuel burnt through the turbine induced drag.

        I'd be shocked if the energy extracted from burning extra fuel in cars on a freeway would come close to what you'd get by burning the same fuel in a properly designed power plant (and I'm quite confident that the emissions would be worse).

        • by Sparr0 (451780)
          One overlooked aspect here is that there will be no transmission loss, because the turbines will generate the power right on the spot. That is, assuming the electric train line follows the turnpike's route.
          • by MightyYar (622222)
            The electric train is probably vapor. NJ Transit already runs electric trains along the NE Corridor Amtrack line, which roughly follows the Turnpike from New York to Trenton. When you get further North, they have PATH. Then again, a nice big capital project would make all sorts of contractors happy, and it IS New Jersey...
      • I'm pretty sure any extra drag would be insignificant compared to the total air resistance.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Kpt Kill (649374)

        I'm not a physicist, but
        but aren't those large sections of cement there for a reason? like preventing crashes from spilling to the other side of the highway?
    • by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @02:39AM (#18953113)
      The energy must come from somewhere, so it must be ultimately coming from the gas powered car. However, if it is being taken in the right way it is energy that would otherwise be converted into waste heat/sound.

      In other words, if the car drag is causing a wind of sorts, that wind would normally dissipate its energy as friction against the surfaces it blows along - causing the energy top be lost as heat. Now we're just providing an alternative energy soak that extracts the useful enrgy.

    • by Mateito (746185)
      You are spot on. You get nothing for nothing. That doesn't necessarily mean that the idea is without merit

      The turbines will increase drag on the cars, which will increase the amount of fuel consumed, which will result in higher emissions from the vehicles in the area immediately local to the generators. Anybody who's ever felt the car speed up when a tail-gater leaves your slipstream to overtake is familiar with the effect.

      The question is whether the additional pollution due to the turbines is more or less
      • by _Ludwig (86077)
        Why is pushing a turbine necessarily less efficient than pushing around a bunch of atmospheric air doing nothing in particular? I get that TANSTAAFL, but this seems more akin to cogeneration -- harnessing what would otherwise be waste energy to do something useful. Even automotive ICEs have had a mechanism to bleed waste heat into the passenger compartment in cold weather almost since their inception. Obviously I'm no physicist, but I don't get why this scheme has to increase drag on the vehicles, provid
    • by zappepcs (820751)
      I'm not a physicist either, but you won't have to worry about it when traffic is moving slowly. The net effect should be negligible when traffic is moving. You only have to observe lightweight material bouncing around a highway when traffic is moving quickly to know that any reduction of wind generated in one direction will reduce the effect that it would have had on traffic moving in another direction.

      In the middle, between the opposite moving traffic is a turbine effect anyway. Harnessing this will not in
    • Re:Drag? (Score:4, Informative)

      by smenor (905244) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @02:51AM (#18953205)

      I am a physicist and had the same thought.

      Without a doubt, the turbines will interfere with laminar flow, increase turbulence, and increase drag.

      I have no idea if the increase in drag will dominate over the increase in efficiency by reclaiming lost energy, but it's definitely something that should be studied before implementing this kind of system on a large scale.

    • by dbIII (701233)
      It depends on how close they are - think of it as ripples going upstream from a rock in a river - the ripples will only reflect a certain distance back up the flow.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Capsaicin (412918)

      There's no such thing as free energy, right?

      Indeed! There is, however, such a thing as wasted energy.

    • by misleb (129952)
      I'm sure it depends on a few things such as where they take the wind energy from. Sure, you might slow down the air and create more drag, but I'm sure there is plenty of wind energy generated from cars that wouldn't otherwise reduce drag on the cars (because it is too far away from the cars, for example). It would just bleed off into the environment as waste energy. You'd definitly have to run simulations to get some real numbers, but I'm pretty sure you'd get a net gain in usable energy from the deal.

      -mat
    • by ajs318 (655362)
      I have an engineering degree, which is about as close as you can get to being a physicist without actually being a physicist, and you are exactly correct.

      Engaging the dynamo on a bicycle makes pedalling harder. A bulb failing makes it easier.

      The end result will be to increase the fuel consumption of cars using the stretch of road. It's absolutely not free energy -- it's paid for by the motorist.

      Don't know what fuel costs in the states but here in the UK, we are already paying the equivalent of over US$2 f
    • by yusing (216625)
      I'm not much of physicist, but that's my reaction too ... the more tightly the air the cars pass through are coupled with the generators, the air's inertia will absorb their momentum. And I question the cost-efficiency.

      There's plenty of "ambient energy" in the environment to harvest. The power of waves and tides has a lot more energy than the draft from a Taurus.
    • I fail to see how there's any energy cost to cars at all--I don't think the highway actually recaptures any of the otherwise wasted "breeze" energy. To use a boating analogy, (because it's easier to see moving water than air) a boat creates a wake behind it from the water it's pushed out of its way. The waves created ultimately dissipate or hit shore. If I strung up a bunch of power generating buoys along major boating lanes, they'd capture some of the energy that would ultimately have just hit shore. T

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dheera (1003686)
      This is an unfathomably silly idea that shows how much energy is being wasted in commuting. The solution is instead to reduce the amount of driving and replace the insane amount of driving in this country with a decent train and bus network that actually gets people where they want to go. New Jersey has extremely poor public transportation for its density compared to other similar-density parts of the world outside the USA. The amount of energy that could be saved (in joules provided by gasoline) by reducin
    • There are quite a few posts below this that are certain that this is the case.

      However, I'm not so certain that turbines in the median would have that great an impact on the tailwind for cars in the traffic lanes. What happens normally to that tailwind? It is funneled upwards, into space above traffic, where it dissipates. Without a full analysis, there is no way that any slashdotter could say whether the turbines would increase drag on traffic, or whether they would simply reduce the amount of wind ener
  • Finally... (Score:5, Funny)

    by ZiakII (829432) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @02:27AM (#18953025)
    Finally something I have to be proud about in NJ besides the Devils....

  • yawn (Score:5, Funny)

    by User 956 (568564) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @02:28AM (#18953031) Homepage
    y replacing sections of solid concrete with Darius turbines, they might be able to harvest enough energy to power a light-rail line.

    That's boring. Wake me up when they can power a light rail gun.
  • by rmadhuram (525803) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @02:31AM (#18953051)
    Oh wait, there's a traffic jam!
  • by deopmix (965178) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @02:33AM (#18953073)
    This might work until somebody decides to use the barriers for their original purpose(separating traffic). When the Powers That Be realize that the only thing separating two lanes of traffic moving at each other at 140 mph is a few turbines they may decide that this is a Bad Idea.
    • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @02:39AM (#18953119)

      I wouldn't be worried about the turbines failing to separate the cars (assuming they were built solidly); I'd be worried about cost. Jersey barriers are surely much cheaper and more durable than turbines, and I think the cost of turbine repair or replacement after the inevitable accidents would be enough to make this proposal uneconomical.

    • by drsquare (530038)
      Why do they need concrete barriers? What's wrong with normal metal rails?
      • by jmoloug1 (178962)
        Why do they need concrete barriers? What's wrong with normal metal rails?

        "Jersey" barriers are designed so that a tire striking the bottom of the barrier will push the car back into the traffic lane more easily and avoid a rigid collision in many instances.
  • Why not just sink some turbines in the larger rivers near the turnpike and get the juice from there?
  • People can fly? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ghoul (157158) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @02:35AM (#18953081)
    If you put a light rail right in the middle of a high traffic freeway how do people get on or off? Fly?
    • by faedle (114018)
      Ask Los Angeles.

      Both the LACMTA Green Line and Gold Line have significant rights-of-way in the center of Interstates. People seem to have no problem getting to the stations.

      Hint: think pedestrian bridges and stairs/elevators.
    • by Kadin2048 (468275)
      It's really not that hard -- go down to Northern VA and look at the Orange Line on the Metro system.

      It has many of its stations right in the median of Interstate 66, which is a busy stretch of road. The way the stations are laid out is that the platform is in the median, between the metro tracks. There is a little building in the median to shelter the platform, with an escalator up to a second level. This second level (which is probably 3 stories off the ground if it were a normal building, at least) has pe
    • by CmdrGravy (645153)
      I would imagine either bridges or tunnels could be employed for that purpose.
  • by xrapidx (615195) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @02:37AM (#18953105)
    ...this will create a good excuse when pullled over for speeding . You were only trying to do your part to power the light-rail line.
  • EMR (Score:2, Interesting)

    How outlandish would it be to embed efficient magnets within Interstate roadways while installing similar magnets within cars and trucks? This is just a late-night idea but couldn't that generate a sizable amount of electricity? Perhaps it could be realistically considered once cars are fitted with a workable system for auto-navigation, a system that might require the installation of specialized equipment in existing roadways and therefore offer a justifiable economic solution (as well as an opportunity);
  • by Akron (799321) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @02:44AM (#18953157)
    Before everyone decides to start bashing good ole NJ. I would like to point out that the actual article says nothing about the NJ Turnpike. The current concrete barriers are called Jersey barriers, and all we have here is a new barrier with turbines...thus the name "NEW" Jersey Barrier.
  • by Animats (122034) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @02:46AM (#18953169) Homepage

    Wrong answer. Too many little turbines not generating enough energy each. Worse, gearing a number of turbines together when they don't get uniform wind pressure means some of them are just sources of drag.

    Progress in wind turbines has been through scaling them up. The 50KW - 100 KW machines of the 1970s never paid for themselves. Somewhere above 500KW, the economics start to work, and farms of megawatt and up machines are quite profitable. Here's General Electric's 2.5 megawatt wind turbine, [gepower.com] which is typical of current large wind turbines. Total worldwide wind generation capacity is about 75 gigawatts. Wind power is now a serious energy source because, at last, the units are big enough to generate serious power.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dbIII (701233)
      Lots of little ducts can power one big turbine.

      Wind power is taking off - China is set to double the worlds installed wind power units within a couple of years. It still has problems like a small unit size and a short maintainance shedule - although with the two problems together it can mean that if you have a big farm of the things you don't lose much of the total when a unit is down. The real saving is you can burn less coal while the wind is blowing. The really big advantage is you can have a lot of s

    • Worse, gearing a number of turbines together when they don't get uniform wind pressure means some of them are just sources of drag.

      Why in blazes would you gear them together? That makes no sense whatsoever. Just dump each turbine's output onto the power grid separately. You could use DC turbines so there's no phase synchronization problem, then convert to AC at the end of the line, or since the power is being used locally, ditch the AC altogether.
  • by copponex (13876) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @03:06AM (#18953281) Homepage
    This is a serious question: since virtually all energy comes from the sun, and we have an extensive infrastructure for transporting electricity as well as extensive technology for storing electricity, why are we wasting time on road-side turbines and hydrogen fuel? Obviously, you make adjustments for average cloud cover, available real estate, etc. But it seems silly to me to research hydrogen or whatever scheme Shell and BP (who are completely unbiased research firms) propose rather than leverage existing technology until they provide a real solution.

    Wouldn't it make sense to say that all parking lots should be covered at least partially by solar panels? This would not only add juice to the grid but help reduce the local heating problem with asphalt, reduce temperatures inside cars (thus reducing energy used to cool them), and provide a convenient place to plug them in.

    Would it cause to much pollution to make that many panels? Are electric cars truly that much more expensive? Or are lobbyists once again trying to ruin our chances of survival so we are nearly forced to keep spending money at their gas/hydrogen/soybean oil stations?
    • Duh. The plugin hybrid has been around for a number of years now.

      Take a regular hybrid vehicle. Plug the batteries into the wall.

      Amazing, you can now charge the batteries at home, and when you go for a drive you can opt not to turn on the petrol engine.

      If you need to go a long way, you turn on the petrol engine.

      Cheaper than petrol and less polluting to our cities, and you still have all the range of a petrol vehicle.

      So how much do these hybrids cost? About the same as a regular vehicle.

      Great, where do I
      • Due do you think this is a good idea in a situation where we already are often on the edge of power outtakes. I do not think so, the only way I see is to prevent this is to only allow special connectors and special voltage degrees to get the average people away from the power grid, those connectors can be plugged into solar panels or alternative "fuel" stations. In the end I do not think hypbrids have any viable long term future.
        • by QuantumG (50515)
          WTF is a power outtake? What are you talking about?

          Are you honestly trying to suggest that the western world doesn't have a sufficient power grid to support electric cars?

      • by drsquare (530038)

        I don't know.. maybe because they sell a whole bunch of vehicles that are not hybrids and they don't want to kill their entire product line by selling something that obsoletes it.

        Yeah, that's why car manufacturers never make new models, they don't want to obsolete their old ones...

        Face it, hybrid cars are expensive and impractical. They take too long to charge up, and they don't last long enough. For people without garages/driveways, there is no way to charge them up either.

        • by _Ludwig (86077)
          For people without garages/driveways, there is no way to charge them up either.

          Except, for , y'know, DRIVING THEM AROUND.

          Idiot.

    • but it seems silly to me to research hydrogen or whatever scheme Shell and BP (who are completely unbiased research firms) propose rather than leverage existing technology until they provide a real solution.

      It's not and either-or kind of thing. While Shell and BP researches whatever they want to do, other researchers working for other (private or governmental) institutions are free to research whatever they want.

      Wouldn't it make sense to say that all parking lots should be covered at least partially by

    • Batteries are big, run out quickly and take hours to charge up. Solar panels are inefficient and expensive. Electricity storage technology isn't very mature.
    • Wouldn't it make sense to say that all parking lots should be covered at least partially by solar panels?

      Probably not - as other posters have pointed out. But since that tarmac gets extremely hot, you might as well run a load of pipes underneath it and make some nice scalding hot water.

      You'd at least get enough for the parking attendant's cup of tea :)
  • "andwecanrunitalloffaninevoltbattery" ...dude
  • This week I noticed a set of four more conventional wind turbines had appeared on a new building on the A406 North Circular Road opposite Ikea. If the intention is to use the breeze generated by cars to power them then they are doomed as the traffic generally crawls past there. Given all the stuff I've read about the viability of wind turbines in built-up areas I wonder how much good they will do anyway, but it's still a very visible bit of greenwashing.

    My first thought on seeing a picture of the NJ turbine
  • Rediculus (Score:5, Funny)

    by rizole (666389) <rizole@ g m a i l . com> on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @04:05AM (#18953577) Homepage
    As has been pointed out already this is a stupid idea. It would make much more sense to put the turbine on the train so it's forward motion can generate electricity. That way the train is self powering. Much greener.
  • It's a "Darrieus" turbine, and has nothing to do with the ancient Persian king.
  • by ZaMoose (24734) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @05:44AM (#18953977)
    Lewis Black recently suggested a novel approach on The Daily Show - power cars on cognitive dissonance [newsbusters.org]. Celebrities weren't using those brain cells anyway, so any extra drag you put on 'em won't slow their hypocrisy down one bit. A win-win solution for everyone, actually...
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by _Ludwig (86077)
      A lot of the comments there throw around the word "hypocrisy" just like you did, but as the man said, "You keep using that word... I do not think it means what you think it means." Hypocrisy means promoting one course of action while practicing its opposite. Now, it's possible Matt Damon drives a Hummer fueled with the blood of Christian babies, I really have no idea. But lacking any supporting evidence, the charge of hypocrisy is utterly unfounded.

      Furthermore, what obligates one to silence one's voice j

  • Cunning plan that: if this generates enough power to drive a light rail, then the light rail becomes a viable alternative for travel and there are fewer cars to drive the turbines. I presume it achieves an equilibrium at some point. Otherwise you'd be in the daft position of encouraging car transport in order to drive the electric train...

    Surely a slightly more practical approach to green energy would be to bar the New Jersey Turnpike to cars that do less than the average mpg? (Note this cunningly moves the
  • Give each lane a short ramp (if you know what a wah pedal is, you'll see what I'm talking about,) that has a shaft with teeth and springs. Attach a generator to that shaft (or a huge ass alternator.) Have this ramp on sturdy springs that can lift the ramp back up after a car drives over it. Gear the shaft/generator so that as the ramp goes down, it puts torque on the generator and makes it spin, and as the car leaves the ramp, it springs back up without affecting the generator's spin, minus the sudden lack
  • New Jersey actually lost money on EZPass, the rfid-based toll collection system... Even New York makes money on that.

    So I imagine that any NJ-based generation system will either use more energy than it produces.
  • The air blows because cars push the air out and forward as they go. Block the air as in a tunnel, and cars have to burn slightly more gas to push the slightly resistant air.

    So instead of something so elaborate, just charge a toll of 5 cents or something for the cars. Same effect, much less complex.
  • Newsflash! (Score:4, Funny)

    by fury88 (905473) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @09:22AM (#18955617)
    "Tonight at 11. Commuters leave roadways to ride new rail. Not enough power to run the rail."
  • by rs232 (849320) on Wednesday May 02, 2007 @09:30AM (#18955721)
    If they banned television remotes and wired everyones couch to the grid, then every time someone got up to change the channel they would generate power.

Get hold of portable property. -- Charles Dickens, "Great Expectations"

Working...