Sustaining Future

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

British supermarket chain powers store checkouts with modified speed bumps

This is absurd and demonstrates the lack of basic Science from the administration of the supermarket. I urge the Brits to boycott this particular supermarket. Here is my reason.

Energy conserves. That's call the law of conservation of energy in secondary school Physics textbooks. The so called "ambient energy technology" is ripping energy from the moving vehicles. If they are really serious about harnessing energy, install solar PV on the roof, install heat pump to move the absorbed heat from the parking lot for some other use.

Simply put, this supermarket is STEALING its customers' energy!



Blogger Malcolm said...

What the supermarket is doing is using the customers' energy that would otherwise go to waste.

It's like making biodiesel out of waste cooking oil. You're not stealing anything from anyone (actually, companies might even pay you to get rid of their dirty oil) but you're harnessing the energy in something that happens anyway (the disposal of this oil) and using it for good (energy).

9:49 pm  
Blogger Albert Ip said...

Malcolm, I am afraid I cannot agree with you. Making diesel out of used oil is environmentally sound and is not stealing anything from anybody as long as the used oil owner wants to get rid of the oil. You are probably right that some may even pay you to take their used/waste oil away.

Using speed bump is different. A car passing over the bump needs an exact bit of energy and I suspect only a VERY fraction of that energy will be converted to any useful energy for the supermarket.

Let say the supermarket is using that energy to drive its computers. So they are using the energy from the motorists (who is paying high petrol price) to subsidize its energy which it can get from the grid at a much lower price. This only makes sense when you can *steal* that energy.

As noted in my original post, energy is conserved. You can only take some energy in one form to convert it to another. The conversion efficiency is ALWAYS less than 100%.

The suggestion I put forward, harvesting the solar energy which falls on the parking lot is a better alternate than stealing customer's expensive petrol to power computer at a lower price.

4:55 pm  
Blogger Malcolm said...

I agree that solar panels put either on the parking lot or the roof of the supermarket would also be a sound idea, but let me highlight what's actually happening:

At nearly all supermarkets, there are speed bumps to keep the speed of drivers in the parking lot down. Normally, the slight amount of energy wasted by driving on these speed bumps is, indeed, entirely wasted. At this supermarket, they hardness it for good instead.

By your definition, all supermarkets are stealing customers energy. At least this supermarket is using it for something rather that just leaving it.

7:24 am  
Blogger Albert Ip said...

Thank you for the clarification, Malcolm. I will take back my words if the speed bumps were already there serving a purpose.

8:34 am  
Blogger Malcolm said...

Cheers, Albert

10:50 am  

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