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Powertread turns gridlock into electricity with a series of tubes

Tim Stevens

Getting stuck in traffic sucks, but thanks to a couple of Kiwis you might soon be feeling a little better about yourself while muttering about the brake-happy commuter ahead of you. An invention called Powertread by Justin Robertson and Brett Kemp looks to do something positive with the unending shuffling of queued cars. It's literally a series of tubes filled with water that, when run over, force their contents through a turbine to generate electricity. One car driving over one of the things generates 580 watts of electricity at 36 amps. That's not an awful lot power, but imagine a dozen of the things lined up at a busy off-ramp, run over by thousands of impatient drivers every day, and you can see the potential. The Singaporean government does too, providing grants to fund the project and two shopping malls there have already signed up to purchase the results. Who knows whether the things will follow our favorite folk duo over to North American shores, but until then you can at least get a similar feel at your local Burger King.

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