Sneaky speed bumps actually power supermarket's check out

Sainsbury's will this week cut the ribbon on a new "people-powered" kinetic energy system, which could soon be rolled out at stores across the country. [via greenbiz]

The new Kinetic Road Plates have been installed at the supermarket giant's new store in Gloucester, U.K., and will harness enough energy from vehicles driving in and out of the store's car park to power all the store's check outs.

The new system, which has been developed by U.K. startup Highway Energy Systems, works using plates that move when vehicles drive over them, creating enough kinetic energy to drive a generator. The technology is expected to produce 30kW of energy an hour without causing any disturbance to motorists as they drive over the plates.
These plates move when vehicles drive over them, creating enough kinetic energy to drive a generator.
All images courtesy of Sainsbury's

A spokeswoman for Sainsbury's said the company was confident that the system would deliver a return on investment within two years, adding that should it prove successful it is highly likely to be rolled out to other stores across the U.K.

"If the plates prove effective we absolutely will look to roll it out more widely," she said. "We estimate the system will recoup costs in two years, which isn't always the case with green measures."
Sainsbury's new green store in Gloucester, U.K.
All images courtesy of Sainsbury's

The kinetic energy system is just one of a raft of environmental technologies featured at the new store, including rainwater harvesting systems, solar thermal panels for heating water, sun pipes designed to increase the use of natural light, and energy management systems designed to ensure energy efficiency is constantly optimized.

David Sheehan, director of store development and construction at the company, said the new technologies, many of which were pioneered at Sainsbury's new store in Dartmouth last year, would serve to both cut carbon emissions and improve the store environment for staff and shoppers.

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