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Falling Suspended Mass

Suspended mass with gears that falls along a rack and pinion setup
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The idea is to have a (gear) rack mounted vertically with X number of teeth. This rack would be stationary relative to the rest of the components in the system. Connected to the rack would be a series of compound pinion gears structured to increase the gear ratios from step to step (i.e. the first step would increase by a factor of 10, the next step would increase by 10, etc). The exact gear ratios required can be determined by figuring out what the ideal rpms are to turn a generator for max power over the period of, let's say, 1 hour. So if we wanted the generator to operate at 3000 rpm for 1 hour, the total revolutions we would need would be 180,000 over that hour. We would need a way to slow the falling of the gears/generator assembly perhaps by placing a spring underneath the assembly so that over the course of that hour, the generator always turns at 3000 rpm. In order to have somewhat decent torque, weight would need to be added to the "mobile" gear/generator assembly. I'm thinking there could be a hydraulic jack that can be used to reset this contraption after the pinion gears are disengaged from the rack. The application for this would be for remote areas that don't have power, but every once in a while you can reset this generator and have reliable power for the next hour, or however long depending on how it is designed.
DangerThird, Nov 18 2010

A similar idea energy_20storage_20gravity
Your idea sounds very similar to this one. [Wrongfellow, Nov 18 2010]

Hydraulic accumulator http://en.wikipedia...draulic_accumulator
Prior Art [8th of 7, Nov 19 2010]


       Welcome to the 'bakery, [DT].
normzone, Nov 18 2010

       How much does the generator weigh and how high does it get elevated?
DenholmRicshaw, Nov 18 2010

       How much energy could you get out of it?
Well, that's easy to answer: use the formula for potential energy.
PE=m*g*h (mass * gravity * height)
How much energy does it take to reset?
Same formula. Same numbers. Same answer.
So the energy in precisely equals energy out.
Friction. You put in the theoretical energy, plus enough to compensate for frictional losses, on the way up. On the way back down, you get back the theoretical energy, minus the frictional losses.
lurch, Nov 18 2010

       any reason a CVT wouldn't work ?
FlyingToaster, Nov 18 2010

       Instead of a spring to slow the falling to the desired rate, use a CVT to adjust the output torque to what's required to maintain the desired RPM. When demand is light, the ratio is high and the weight falls slowly. When demand is heavier, the ratio is lower and the weight falls more slowly.   

       There's still the basic problem that a raised weight doesn't store as much energy as you might think, and you still have to put that energy into the system before you can get it out.
Freefall, Nov 18 2010

       Hi, [DT] and welcome.   

       So,in brief, use a raised weight to drive a generator? Yes, not an unreasonable idea but, as pointed out, you need a lot of weight raised a fair distance to generate much power for a decent time.   

       Suppose you want 100W for an hour. That's 360,000 Joules. If your weight is 1000kg (and if everything is 100% efficient), you're going to have to raise the weight 36 metres. Or a 10,000kg weight over 3.6 metres, which is probably easier.   

       So, not impossible. It might be simplest to use water as the weight, which leads to the idea of using a pump to raise it, and a turbine to recover the energy.
MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 19 2010

       What if somehow you tricked God into pumping the water for you such that it fell at great height, and you could capture the energy of it flowing back down to the ocean?   

       I know, I know, God magic. But still, one can dream.
bungston, Nov 19 2010

       Yeah, and one day we'll be able to travel from England to the Colonies in a single day, and it'll be legal to buy magazines with pictures of naked women in them. Get real.
MaxwellBuchanan, Nov 19 2010

       //and it'll be legal to buy magazines with pictures of naked women in them. Get real.//   

       (pssst....[Max]! "Nekkidcolonists.com.")
Boomershine, Nov 19 2010

       Office Buildings! Office buildings would be the perfect place to implement this. Get rid of those energy consuming elevators and force those lazy folks like me to walk up (this is where the idea ultimately fails). Without transporting anything you have a potential energy source already. Then every-time someone needs to return to the ground floor they jump on a platform and ride it down.   

       Of course the peak energy creation would be at quitting time ... but we could make the office building so inconvenient (move all toilets to the ground floor, all office supplies in the basement, &c. &c.) that people will be riding these things all day.
Yokel, Nov 19 2010

       //the peak energy creation would be at quitting time//   

       If the company goes into liquidation, they could require all employees to leave the building via your platforms, to recoup the maximum amount of capital from their gravitational assets.
Wrongfellow, Nov 19 2010

       //move all toilets to the ground floor// to the attic, surely?
pocmloc, Nov 19 2010

       // to the attic, surely? // Aha, for the Fæcal-Flow Turbine generator?
Yokel, Nov 19 2010

       I might note that the buildings themselves often have heavy bits on top, which could be lowered to the ground using this mechanism.
bungston, Nov 19 2010

8th of 7, Nov 19 2010


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