Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Electric wheels

Here's yet another faulty idea. My understanding is that electricity is created by spinning a magnet around a wire. I just read a bunch of online sources, and they seem to say the same thing. If it's online, it must be true. All of the different sources of power that we talk about, such as wind, coal, gas, hydro, and geothermal all don't produce electricity directly. Instead, they are the power used to rotate the magnet in the turbine. The main word to concentrate on here is "rotate".

Next up, we have hybrid and electric cars, which always need to find a source of electricity. Now, cars have these four rotating things on them called wheels. Could one embed small electricity generating turbines in each wheel? Essentially, you'd be using the power of the engine to rotate the wheels and then using that wheel rotation to create some more electricity. I just did a bit of reading on turbines and my guess is you wouldn't get more than a few hundred watts out of this, while an electric motor takes thousands, so this would just be a small contributor to the whole electrical system of the car. Maybe you'd get one or two mpgs out of this, not much more. But hey, it's 2 mpgs.

Now, of course these wheel-encased turbines would weigh something and the engine will have to spend more power to make the car move with these heavy embedded turbines. Therefore, this would only be useful if the spinning wheels produced more electricity than the engine used turning the heavier wheels. Hmmm... Would it work?

10 comments:

writtenwyrdd said...

A few months ago I read something about wheels recapturing energy so that the car, while not the mythical perpetual motion machine, would possess immense efficiency. Wish I could recall where I saw it now.

But this was something being looked into. (Unless I've totally lost my mind and made that up.) I'll give you the link if I can find it.

Sarah Laurenson said...

This reminds me of when I wanted to put solar panels on the inside of lamp shades, which actually is more doable these days with the plastic extruded solar panels.

Keep those thoughts churning. I think you may be on to something there.

blogless troll said...

I've only ridden in a hybrid once (it was taxi--the smallest taxi I've ever seen) and it had this display on the dash that showed a sort of schematic of the vehicle with colored blinking lights and arrows running from the engine to the battery to the gas tank to the axles and it looked like a lot was going on as far as recharging when braking and all that, but who knows it could've just been colored blinking lights and arrows designed to distract you from the fact you're riding in a plastic car. I don't know.

pacatrue said...

Hey. Yeah, the hybrids definitely already extract energy from breaking. I actually posted my idea at a place called whynot.net. Here's the link: (http://www.whynot.net/ideas/5374)

The general consensus (if 3 votes is a consesus) is that it won't work. Basically, I'm using the power of the main engine to turn the wheels, which is also the generator. In the end, there's no way to get around the fact that any energy used to turn the magnet around the wire coil is energy not being used to turn the wheels moving the car. It's always going to be more efficient to just turn the wheels.

I understand, roughly, the logic in this response, and it's very likely correct, but I don't truly get it well enough to be completely convinced. I can see how energy is like a fluid which must be conserved; you can only move it around, not create it, and everything follows from that. But on the other hand, it's hard for me to fully understand why building part of the wheel out of a magnet takes energy from moving the car....

pjd said...

I'm guessing there's a prohibitive cost component here. To pay for the additional equipment, maintenance, complexity of design, etc., the mini generators would have to recapture more energy over their lifetime than they would create in cost. I'm guessing the cost is not huge, but the recaptured energy would probably be negligible, especially when compared to that cost.

I'm hoping that someone develops a photovoltaic paint. Turn your electric car into one big solar panel. I'm sure we're not THAT far away from something like that. All we have to do is find an application for it in the porn industry, and it'll be developed nearly overnight.

ril said...

Hey. Yeah, the hybrids definitely already extract energy from breaking.Freudian slip?

Sammy Jankis said...

I've often wondered the same thing, but never put it in writing. It does seem that we could conceivably develop a technology whereby the rotating of a wheel lined with magnets could produce electricity. I, too, wonder if it would be cost prohibitive and that is why it isn't being actively developed.

blogless troll said...

The general consensus (if 3 votes is a consesus) is that it won't work.But you're thinking in the right direction. There's always hamsters.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Hm. I think you're onto something there BT. Think of all the unwanted shelter animals and how much they can do to power your car. Gives them a home and cleans out the shelters and gives us better gas mileage. Then we just have the highway poop issue.

They do have solar paint. It's not very efficient when painted on a house from what I understand.

Konarka extrudes plastic sheets and paints them. This is a very cheap method for solar panels only the infrastructure to install these is not in place, so most installers will try and steer you to the old panels. The plastic sheets are better though as well as being cheaper because they work at any angle to the light whereas solar panels need a more direct hit.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Thank you. I, as sometimes is the case, thought I was the singular human on earth who had considered this option. It just seems to make sense from a layman's perspective. Rotating axle, magnetic field = electricity. My field is finance and we all know where that is these days. So I am out to solve all the world's problems. Hope it works out better than my last venture. Keep thinking. My parents used to tell me "you're just a dreamer." Yes I am. Thank you.