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Monday, June 22, 2009

Car-Powered Supermarket Check Outs

Metal plates under a supermarket's parking lot harness the power of passing cars

By Dan Smith

A supermarket in the UK is using a novel way of harnessing energy from their customers. Embedding their parking lot with weight-sensitive plates, cars impart kinetic energy as they pass through, which is then collected and used to power their cash registers.

When a car drives by, plates are depressed and the motion is passed along hydraulics to a generator, which produces 30kw of energy an hour. If one parking lot can power cash registers, imagine packing roads with this technology and how much energy can be recollected from all the world's drivers?

Not to be outdone, the store has installed a ton of other green technologies. Rainwater is collected to flush toilets and will be heated by solar thermal heat during the winter. Large windows and sun pipes reduce the need for artificial sources of light. Even excess cold air from their fridges is piped into the checkout area to keep it cool. Either this store has set the standard for the future of green architecture or it is just trying to shame everyone into following suit.

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