Kinetic energy is the energy created by movement and it’s one of the most underutilized forms of renewable energy out there
Think about it; what if you could harvest the movement of dancers at a festival? What if we could store the energy given off by volcanoes exploding in Hawaii? What if the waves on a beach could power an ice-cream truck?
With Silicon Valley and other tech hubs hurtling along at break-neck speeds, these wild claims are becoming a reality.
1. Teraloop – A giant kinetic battery
Storing electricity and managing national grid demands is a headache for government. Integrating the intermittent production of renewable energy adds to the core issue; supply and demand.
Teraloop has designed a kinetic system that stores energy in the form of spinning flywheels and magnetically levitated rotors. Think of it as a giant battery with high-tech spinning insides that store power for entire cities.
The project poised to go into full prototype design by 2019.
2. Shake your Power – A percussion shaker that creates electricity on the go
Shake your Power creates a kinetic energy percussion shaker called “Spark.” The company launched from a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2015 and sends the Spark to poverty-stricken, off-the-grid countries in Africa.
The device looks like an angled ball and makes a typical shu-ka-shu-ka sound you’d expect to hear at a Jazz event. After 12 minutes of groovy shaking, a light is plugged in and powered for one hour. The company has started to provide educational packages to schools, teaching them how to make their very own self-powered shaker.
3. Challengry – harvesting the power of Typhoons
Challengry is the most revolutionary concept on this list. It’s built to capture the kinetic energy of typhoons in Japan.
If the optimistic project gets off the ground, Tokyo will be able to generate enough electricity to power it for the next 50 years. The project is part of Japan’s effort to move away from nuclear power and adopt more stable renewable energy.
4. Pavegen – Smart streets that power communal lighting
If you’ve heard about tiles that collect kinetic energy, you’ve heard about Pavegen. This company pioneered kinetic flooring and is whittling down the cost to prepare for large-scale projects.
Their most recent project was a kinetic street in London. Tiles collect energy from the daily foot traffic and use it to power public lighting and nearby shops. In return for their energy contributions, the walkers can get discounts and vouchers at select stores.
Pavegen plans to expand this project to every street in England, drastically cutting electricity costs in public spaces and shops.
5. Underground Power - LYBRA – Speed Bumps that turn traffic into energy
In Italy, speed bumps are getting smarter. Turning circles, sharp corners, and drive-throughs are all opportunities to collect kinetic energy produced by cars.
The speedbumps are flush with the road and can theoretically be installed anywhere. Strategically placed speed bumps could regulate speed and provide free lighting on otherwise unlit roads.
These speed bumps can gather enough electricity to power a city if they are in the right location.
6. SeaKERS – Converting a yachts movement in the ocean into electricity
The yachting industry is a long-time supporter of clean energy technologies. One of their biggest challenges has been switching from diesel engines to solar or wind power. The latest effort to produce green energy is a kinetic energy system that makes use of a boats lurching motion in high winds.
The project has just finished its first round of testing and submitted a report to the EU framework program. The creation of electricity via wave oscillation is a likely solution for yachts looking to get a little greener.
7. SequentWatch – A smartwatch that doesn’t need to be charged
harging all your devices is a pain in the rear. Charging a smartwatch is just plain unnecessary. The Sequent Watch can track your heart rate, your steps, and even your GPS location. You never need to plug it in because it runs off the kinetic energy generated by you every day.
The watch is on its second project run, check it out with Indiegogo.
8. Playground Energy – Kinetic Toys for Kids
Startled by the amount of time children spend staring at screens, Playground Energy is on a mission to get children back in the playground. They’ve incorporated kinetic energy harvesters with spring-based playground toys to provide an dazzling solution.
Children can bounce and swing on the Lumi Spring Toy to their heart's content – each movement sending power to various lights and speakers on the toy. The more vigorously a child plays, the louder and brighter the sounds and LED lights grow.
The company is integrating their products into various playgrounds around Europe, helping children have good old fashioned fun once more.
9. SportsArt – Gym equipment that powers your Gym
Peddling away on a static sports bike at the gym can make you feel like a hamster on a wheel. The classic imagery inspired the creators of SportsArt to harvest our wasted efforts.
When you peddle away on their Eco-Power bike, you generate kinetic electricity that goes back into the local electricity grid. Same goes for their treadmill and weight machines.
A few forward-thinking gyms have adopted the technology and offered discounts to gym goers that create the most electricity. Now that’s the motivation you need to put on your running shoes!
10. Instep NanoPower – shoes with power
These shoes have kinetic energy motors inside their soles, instantly turning your feet into mini-generators. Although the shoes are still in development and have a few cumbersome features to overcome, they already produce enough electricity to charge your smartphone or an LED flashlight.
In the future, they could be used for search and rescue teams or security guards doing their rounds at night.