The University of Stony Brook's work on generating clean energy from railroad track vibrations was one of several to receive an award from PowerBridgeNY, a recently created proof-of-concept center established to move clean-energy ideas from the laboratory to become successful businesses in New York State.
The Stony Brook team, led by Professor Lei Zuo and two graduate students Teng Lin and John Wang from the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center, developed a new type of energy harvester that converts the irregular, oscillatory motion of train-induced rail track vibrations into regular, unidirectional motion, in the same way that an electric voltage rectifier converts AC voltage into DC.
Professor Zuo estimates that the invention could save more than $10 million in trackside power supply costs for railroads in New York state alone, along with a reduction of 3,000 tons per year of CO2 and a half million dollars of electricity savings.
“New York is taking a leading role in supporting the development of cleantech products that are environmentally friendly, reduce energy use and increase reliability of the state’s energy systems,” said New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “When the best and brightest cleantech researchers in New York State have the opportunity to collaborate with smart, experienced experts in the private sector, the result can be a powerful force for economic development resulting in a cleaner, greener, more sustainable state for future generations.”
PowerBridgeNY was created by Columbia University and New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering, leading a consortium of public research institutions throughout the state and is partially funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).
“The funding announced today will help these scientists, researchers and entrepreneurs move their innovative technology closer to market-readiness as they tackle technical clean-energy issues,” said John Rhodes, president and chief executive officer, NYSERDA. “Thanks to Gov. Cuomo’s support, the proof-of-concept centers are advancing cleantech innovation in New York State, growing new companies and commercializing the next generation of products that will help reduce the state’s energy use.”
PowerBridgeNY’s award winners receive up to $150,000, mentoring and other business support to develop an innovative cleantech product first conceived through research taking place in New York State.