What is the nature of momentum/inertial power, what is the source?
Momentum/inertial power are hidden dimensions of daily existence, within a gravitational space. When we think of the visual dimensions such as 2D, height & width, or 3D, height, width & depth, it is easy to see that there are many hidden tactile and other dimensions such as weight, malleability, radioactivity, etc. Momentum has long been recognized and harvested as a form of energy, from a falling boulder as a weapon, to a modern pile driver, momentum has been harvested as a method of energy enhancement. Yet most instances of momentum harvesting are characterized by significant waste energy as heat or environmental displacement.
Inertia as a source of energy is even harder to see. However, a simple thought experiment can make it more obvious. The earth is about 24,000 miles in circumference, and it rotates 1 complete revolution every 24 hours. This means that every thing on the surface of the planet is moving constantly at about 1000 mph. Now just imagine an object, like your car, floating in space. If either through friction or impact, sufficient force was given to that object to increase its speed by 1000 mph, how much energy would be required to keep it from accelerating? This vast energy that keeps us apparently still, even when you eliminate ground friction by jumping up in the air, is inertia. Weight is the easiest element of inertia to grasp, and it is the basis for the stability of , especially un-tethered, structures although it is also a factor in all objects relationship with this dynamic planet.
Gravitational energy is an affinity phenomena, other affinity phenomena or forces are magnetic attraction, and the weak and strong nuclear forces. Gravitational energy differs from some other affinity energies, such as magnetism, in that it is not, or at least not easily, reversible. Affinity is a form of negative or stasis energy that resists changes in orientation between masses. But as demonstrated by the thought experiment above, it is a powerful, yet diffuse, force.
When the forces of momentum and inertia are combined, as in the movement of a heavy object, such as a vehicle or animal, in a gravitational space the “law” of the conservation of energy dictates that energy transfers must occur. This is no unknown phenomena, engineers have long realized that one of the most significant sources of bridge or roadway stress is traffic. A rarely used bridge will last much, much longer than a heavily trafficked bridge of identical design. Seismology is also dependent on harvesting the energy of P-waves, that travel through solid earth, even rock, to predict and recognize earthquake activity.
Momentum/inertial energy harvesting is a redirection of these energies into a more useful form. You don't need to be and engineer or physicist to know that when a car runs over something, that thing must absorb a lot of energy. Or that if you are standing on a curb on a rainy day, you had better be careful or a passing car can splash you with filthy water at great intensity.
Why does momentum/inertial energy qualify as a power source, is it a separate source of power or is it simply a form of energy efficiency?
There was a popular commercial in the 70's for a dish washing liquid, where the earthy manicurist used it to soften the hands of her clients. She would extoll the virtues of the product, and tell the startled customer that “you're soaking in it”. The same line could be applied to gravitational energy, “we are soaking in it”. The stasis energy of gravity is constant and ubiquitous. The movement of heavy vehicles modulates this energy, irregardless of if it is harvested. Roadway or bridge stress from the movement of vehicles is inevitable. We intervene and convert that energy into useful as opposed to destructive forms. Energy is a state of matter and it is inescapable. So in a sense the harvesting of momentum/inertial energy is a form of energy efficiency. Yet this begs the question; is any of the fuel of a vehicle diverted from momentum management by harvesting energy from the roadways? The answer to this is a function of design and engineering. GSE has addressed this often knee-jerk dismissal elegantly. We have products that remove no forward momentum, and products which are engineered to remove significant forward momentum. Our adiabatic systems (i.e. no energy transfer) , which remove no energy from passing vehicles are largely transparent to the fuel usage of targeted vehicles, and drivers. Many countries and companies, in response to our introduction of momentum/inertia power in 2001, have designed systems which operated using piezoelectric crystals. These systems were completely flat and featureless, and therefore completely transparent to the user. These systems were expensive and yield low energy densities, but they prove the point that energy can be harvested transparently [adiabatically]. However, we have also developed systems which optimize this effect, and therefore remove a specific amount of energy from passing vehicles as a safety or traffic control measure. We call these non-adiabatic devices Speed Sponges, and they can be used as runaway truck ramps, or emergency stoppage systems at airports.
So in summary I would say that even though fuel is a combination of captured sunlight and compressed gravitational energy, fuel is not considered as a form of solar energy! M/I (momentum/inertial) energy is an independent form of energy. I should also add that we have also developed inertial energy sources, that rely on atmospheric heat as opposed to moving vehicles as the enabler force to harvest gravitational energy, and these products are in beta testing now.
How does it work, how is the energy gathered and what can it be used for?
Energy has many useful forms in industry and agriculture. We have been seduced by electricity & fuel because of their universal applications and relatively easy transmittablity. Yet energy as fluid pressure, gas compression, or simply as heat can be readily applied in almost any application. When energy is harvested from moving vehicles, or from atmospheric heat, its primary format is pressure.
Pressure induces significant changes in solids, fluids, and gases. We harvest those changes caused by environmental dynamism, (both the addition and subtraction of pressure or heat). This environmental dynamism can be harvested as displacement or as energy waves (like water waves). We can convert this energy into electricity, at some significant loss of efficiency. Consequently, we provide the harvested energy as fluid pressure, (to elevate or pressurize fluids), or gas compression, (to operate pneumatic systems and generate waste heat for deicing or climate control).
How does momentum/inertial energy compare with conventional energy sources and other forms of alternative energy?
Momentum/Inertial [M/I] energy is much like the energy released by matter, in that the magnitude of harvestable energy depends quite heavily on methods. Just as an ounce of coal will generate X BTu’s of energy if it is burned, that same ounce of coal will generate Xz if it could be compressed to a critical mass and start a chain reaction. Our current methods of harvesting M/I place it near the middle of the pack of energy sources on some measures, but leading the in some key ways that are normally not considered. While our R&D efforts are further refining the process to even greater efficiency and effectiveness.
The important dimensions of an energy source are cost per BTu, transmission costs, reliability, availability, and environmental impacts.
Costs per Btu include capital, equipment, maintenance and fuel costs and efficiency. M/I systems currently available from GSE[Gravitational Systems Engineering], have capital and equipment costs similar to those of river based or pumped storage hydro-electric installations, primarily due to the piping and roadway construction requirements. This places M/I systems well below wind or fossil fuel sources in initial implementation costs. The maintenance costs of M/I systems are similar to photovoltaic installations, which require major replacement of equipment about every 4-5 years. This cost curve makes M/I extremely cost competitive with all but dam based hydro-electric and traditional coal fired utility plants, with regard to initial and maintenance costs.
Where M/I shines is in the delivery of vast amounts of energy with no fuel cost. When compared to other non-fuel sources, [solar, wind and hydro-electric] a dense 1 mile M/I installation will generate, during rush hour, as much energy as a 3 square mile photovoltaic installation on a very sunny day.
Efficiency is yet another advantage of M/I. In the majority of municipal, industrial or commercial applications electricity, with the rapidly dwindling exception of lighting [as we move to LED], must be converted into some other form to be used. Electricity is converted to heat, pressure, or mechanical action, at significant loss of efficiency. GSE M/I systems can be located close to the usage, as in the parking lot or adjacent to fluid distribution systems, while generating energy in directly usable formats of fluid pressure, gas compression or heat.
Transmission costs are another strong advantage of M/I. Only photovoltaic solar can compare with M/I in its ability to be located nearest to the energy sink for many applications. Yet, due to the dramatic energy density advantages of M/I over photovoltaic, the practicality of M/I vastly outshines solar.
Reliability and availability are perhaps the strongest advantages of M/I over photovoltaic and wind. In many important applications, energy demand is directly linked to usage. For example in a factory compressed air usage will correspond with employee traffic. Roadway lighting is most important when traffic is present on the roadway. Municipal water pressure demands will peak after the rush hour brings commuters home.
M/I is a usage based energy source, which minimizes the storage requirements when compared to solar or wind. When traffic driven M/I is providing the power, peak demands are synchronized with peak supply. [GSE atmospheric heat inertia systems provide peak power when the temperatures are highest making it ideal for climate control and water pumping.]
Finally the environmental impacts of energy sources must be considered. These impacts include pollution [air or water] by origin, usage or disposal. Transparent M/I [adiabatic systems which take no energy from traffic] systems have virtually no pollution impacts at origin because they are composed of primarily recycled automobile tires [which effectively reduces the environmental impacts of tire production by extending its utility].
GSE embedded M/I systems, as opposed to temporary above ground devices, interact with passing traffic via steel plates which generate virtually no operational pollution, given that the systems are configured transparently and do not increase fuel usage. The devices do have a useful life, which will be extended by materials research in the coming years, and must eventually add to the industrial waste stream. Yet since they are from recycled tires the net effect is very near zero. No other form of traditional or alternative energy, that I am aware of, can make such a claim.
Who would be the primary customer for your systems and equipment?
International statistics indicate that roughly 20% of all human power usage is to move water, and another large percentage of power is used to change the temperature of fluids [for heating or cooling]. These facts alone define a huge municipal and industrial market for any energy source which, at some significant competitive advantage, can achieve these ends. M/I is ideal for municipal water pumping, commercial modification of water temperature [heating and cooling especially when coupled with geothermal sources], and for industrial compression and cooling tasks. In short the market, considering only contemporary applications, is huge.
However, there is a huge market which is currently so under-served that it is not even considered. That is the market for regional environmental maintenance applications such as air and water pollution mitigation, hydrological balancing [drought and flood control], and potable water availability [AWG atmospheric water generation, desalination, etc.].
We are currently targeting process intensive industries which rely heavily on compressed air systems, and owners and operators of commercial parking facilities.
Does the collection of momentum/inertial energy from vehicles require that energy be taken from the vehicles; will they have to use more fuel?
The answer to this is a function of design and engineering. GSE has addressed this often knee-jerk dismissal elegantly. We have products that remove no forward momentum, and products which are engineered to remove significant forward momentum. Our adiabatic systems (i.e. no energy transfer) , which remove no energy from passing vehicles are largely transparent to the fuel usage of targeted vehicles, and drivers. Many countries and companies, in response to our introduction of momentum/inertia power in 2001, have designed systems which operated using piezoelectric crystals. These systems were completely flat and featureless, and therefore completely transparent to the user. These systems were expensive and yield low energy densities, but they prove the point that energy can be harvested transparently. However, we have also developed systems which optimize this effect, and therefore remove a specific amount of energy from passing vehicles as a safety or traffic control measure. We call these non-adiabatic devices speed sponges, and they can be used as runaway truck ramps, or emergency stoppage systems at airports.
What are the primary applications of momentum/inertia energy in industry, transportation, military, or environmental fields.
Utility companies around the US and in Europe are investing a lot of resources in demand side management and peak demand side management programs. These are mostly energy efficiency programs designed to allow the utility to better predict and fairly distribute energy during peak load and emergency conditions. Under the cover of these programs GSE is offering industrial concerns competitive methods for compressed air generation, fluid & process cooling [cooling towers], and geothermal pumping for facilities climate control.
During these tough economic times, many municipal entities are also looking to decrease energy costs, reduce carbon footprints and harden municipal services, such as water pressure and potable water supplies, against emergency conditions. To the municipal customer we are offering demand driven water elevation [for water pressure] and local desalination services. Most small or medium communities in north America and Europe have sufficient traffic volumes to easily meet many of their goals with M/I energy.
Toll plazas are hidden powerhouses from the perspective of M/I. The increasing multi-modal [cash, sensor, credit, exception, etc.] nature of toll plazas also presents many safety challenges. These challenges are increasing in western countries, but are endemic in many developing markets such as China or India. To this market GSE offers power generation and traffic control. A dense installation of embedded M/I systems at a toll plaza can provide sufficient power to operate outdoor lighting and electronic signage for many miles. While our Speed Sponges can ensure that all drivers approach the plaza at safe speeds.
Military's around the globe are seeking easy reliable field based energy systems to support forward operations. Applications like desalination, compressed air service, and electricity generating are prime targets for M/I energy systems. GSE speed sponge technology, both horizontal and vertical implementations, have broad application to militaries, diplomatic services, and airports. Specially engineered Speed Sponges can mitigate perimeter breaching attacks [where a heavy vehicle is used to penetrate a blast wall] and our vertically mounted devices can significantly mitigate blast damage, with the added benefits of automatic self renewal, when compared with traditional methods. Airports, especially those in dense urban areas can employ Speed Sponges to both manage emergency landings and to allow larger planes to safely land on shorter runways.
With M/I energy new environmental applications become feasible, and will eventually become best practices. The unique energy density and low costs of M/I energy systems make regional weather control, atmospheric water generation, air pollution mitigation, and aquifer rehabilitation real practical solutions to often intractable regional problems.
Can you outline a typical project that would be suitable for your technology? What are the costs and economic paybacks?
Commercial Parking Lot: A lot of customers of commercial shopping centers and strip malls complain about the array of raised speed-bumps that you must endure to get to a parking space. If the owners replace these disruptive devices with GSE embedded Sponges, sensible customers will experience flat featureless surfaces, while speeders will be automatically checked and slowed. Materials and construction costs for this installation will range from less than 100K to about 250K. The payback will be in increasing customer traffic and satisfaction.
Assembly Plant: An electronics assembly plant, runs three shifts, and each shift uses compressed air to operate pneumatic tools, assembly lines, and materials handling systems. The temperature & air quality within the plant must be maintained within strict ranges for both employee comfort and materials requirements. The plant owners install a dense array of GSE traffic driven air compressors on to the parking lot and loading docks. Each shift will generate sufficient compressed air, and pumped geothermal energy to meet all of the plants needs for the shift, reducing electricity costs by 40%. The plant will also be less susceptible to power outages and brown outs and production will become more predictable and reliable. This installation will require piping and service channels be installed on the parking lot. The gross costs are estimated from 100-900K, depending on the needs of the facility. In many jurisdictions the net costs, due to demand side reduction rebates, and reduction of grid or fuel costs, is negative. The system will payback in lower energy costs and reduced production costs by year 3.
Toll Plaza: Toll plazas are being built at a rate of almost 2-3 per day around the world. As diverse payment schemes are offered, [cash, RFID, credit, and exception], toll plazas are increasingly hosting diverse traffic streams operating at different speeds, this is all too often a recipe for high accident rates.
GSE Speed Sponges, combined with geothermal fluid circulation using our traffic powered fluid pumps, can ameliorate many toll plaza safety challenges. The Speed Sponges will ensure that all traffic approaches the plaza at safe speeds by removing excess inertia. The roadway surfaces can also be maintained at safe operational temperatures year round. The circulation of geothermal fluids will deice during the winter, cool in summer, and provide climate control for operators and administrative facilities. A typical installation will range from 300-1,500K, and require very little maintenance. The payoff is in increased motorist and operator safety, and will therefore be dependent on historical accident rates.
What is the size of the market that GSE products can compete for?
International statistics indicate that roughly 20% of all human power usage is to move water, and another large percentage of power is used to change the temperature of fluids [heating and cooling]. These facts alone define a huge municipal and industrial market for any energy source which can, at some significant competitive advantage, achieve these ends. M/I is ideal for municipal water pumping, commercial modification of water temperature [heating and cooling especially when coupled with geothermal sources], and for industrial compression and cooling tasks. In short the market, considering only contemporary applications, is huge.
However, there is a huge market which is currently so under-served that it is not even considered. That is the market for regional environmental maintenance applications such as air and water pollution mitigation, hydrological balancing [drought and flood control], and potable water availability [AWG atmospheric water generation, desalination, etc.]. This market is estimated to be in the peta-watt range.
Do you have any real world projects completed or under way at this time?
We are in secondary bid stage with a few US bridge projects, and in primary bid stage with several US toll plaza projects. We have roadway systems, of unknown application, underway in several middle eastern countries, including Jordan and Dubai. Our Virginia plant has established test sites and these are available for customer examination on request.