Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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The phrase 'crumpled heap' comes to mind.

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Pneumatic battery charger

Another source of "free" power.
  (+4, -1)
(+4, -1)
  [vote for,

So, you drive one of those new-fangled electric cars? Can't find a charging station in the places you normally park? Fear not. Use the parking lot traffic to generate electricity for battery charging.

Across the traffic path, roll out a length of hose, plugged at one end and attached to a pneumatic motor at the other. The pneumatic motor would be powered by the air pressure impulses generated by cars driving over and flattening the hose. The motor turns a generator which adds some charge to your batteries. Bigger hose=more power, more traffic=more power.

Possibly, the pneumatic pulse could directly cause the movement of a magnet within a coil of wire which would generate electricity.

Works kinda like those old fashioned service station bells. An actual dinging service station bell attached would cut down on air pressure available to run the generator but that loss will be more than offset by the children who are thereby enticed to continuously jump up and down on the hose to make the bell ring.

half, Jul 12 2003

What it might look like (in AZ, of course). http://bz.pair.com/fun/pumpedUp_r.JPG
[26Kb image] Only because this idea is so difficult to visualize. [bristolz, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Alternatively, I guess you could install these in the parking lots everywhere and plug the car in. http://www.halfbake...ting_20Speed_20Bump
[half, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]


bristolz, Jul 12 2003

       I see your half-Utopia now. Every car electric. Every car sucking energy from every other car. Every parking lot covered with hoses, like giant plates of spaghetti... (+)
pluterday, Jul 12 2003

       free + to you
FarmerJohn, Jul 12 2003

       electricity produced by a generater would be ac and would need to be converted into dc to be able to charge the batteries, and this would cause a lot of electrical loss. You'd be able to charge the battery easier by hand with a crank than dragging around a 40 foot hose in the back of your electric car. Carrying around that hose would take more energy from the car than it would give in recharging.
almightytesla, Jul 13 2003

       no, ALL tubes must be filled with custard. But this would work better if you had a bunch of magnet-covered bowls of custard all over the car, with spoons with coils of wire and a cord going to your circuitry in them, so all the neighborhood kids eating the custard out of the bowls would charge you batteries.
oxen crossing, Jul 14 2003

       "electricity produced by a generater would be ac". Ehh, not quite, Sparky. Using a segmented commutator, as opposed to the slip rings found in an AC generator, a generator is capable of producing pulsating DC output. It's been done that way for quite some time. Automobile charging systems were creating DC before semiconductor rectifiers existed.
half, Jul 14 2003

       The hose should also have a Schrader valve on it, so if you happen to be at a gas station with “free air” (for your tires) you can connect your generator to it. You could probably get a pretty good charge out of it before the attendant realizes what you’re doing.
AO, Jul 14 2003

       Good thought, AO. Absent a service station, there's plenty of compressed air available in those toroidal rubber storage tanks attached to nearby cars.
half, Jul 15 2003

       How'd I miss this one. +
Worldgineer, Sep 26 2003

       Stealing the free air...nice.
lebobtheavenger, Feb 27 2005

       Nice churn [lebob], better than the current harvest.
wagster, Feb 27 2005

       Better would be a vacuum-operated alternator. When operating at anything less than full throttle, gasoline engines expend a considerable amount of energy producing vacuum. Worse, this energy gets turned into heat at a location where heat is bad for efficiency. Harnessing the energy would cool the intake air, enhancing engine efficiency in addition to providing "free" energy.
supercat, Feb 27 2005

       Pluterday, your vision sounds like the vehicular equivalent of BitTorrent.
Tabbyclaw, May 20 2005

       its a good idea persay, put a little impractical. The generator would produce so little electricity that it wouldn't be worth it. Like almightytesla said you be better off using a hand crank.
squeekyzebra, Feb 17 2006

       //its a good idea persay// Persay? Who he?
sp. "per se" (or possibly "Percy")
coprocephalous, Feb 17 2006


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