Electricity from driving on roads ready to be rolled out, says entrepreneur

Winner of the Chivas Venture SA competition, Clement Mokoenene, founder of civil engineering and project management service provider Epitome Consulting, feels that his innovation – the Vehicle Energy Harvesting System (VEHS) is ready to be rolled out and used in the real world.

The VEHS is described as a new way of generating electricity through harvesting the pressure exerted by vehicles on roads. It is a power generation system that is overlaid on a road surface. The pressure from the vehicles driving over it, turns a turbine that generates electricity. “A 2km stretch of a busy highway could produce enough power to potentially power a whole city,” says Mokoenene, noting that traffic generates pressure, and generating electricity relies on pressure.

Mokoenene’s idea was inspired in 2011 by the pressure exerted onto the tarmac by the weight of a plane through its wheels when landing. He sought to find a way to harness the energy generated by that pressure in the same way that coal is burned to create pressure to the power turbines that provide electricity. The VEHS takes this principle and applies it to cars. The system is fitted below the road surface, with the cars driving over it creating the pressure that powers a turbine.

After several years developing and testing the system, Mokeonene believes that it is now ready to be rolled out and used in the real world.  This rollout could happen rapidly because unlike more traditional energy infrastructure that takes years to construct, the VEHS infrastructure can be fully installed and operational within six months.

Mokoenene won the South African Chivas Venture competition and is gearing up for the global final of the entrepreneur-boosting competition in Amsterdam in May. The Chivas Venture is a global initiative that provides a $1 million fund for social entrepreneurs that are tackling the world’s biggest problems. 27 regional finalists are selected by country based on their entries. The more votes Mokoenene receives, the more funding he will receive from the #ChivasVentureSA competition. Show your support at https://www.chivas.com/the-venture/finalists/people/za-clement-mokoenene

“What I want people to take away from my entry and success so far in this competition is that it is a testament to Epitome Consulting’s on-going commitment to rethinking efficiency, sustainability, humanity and the transformation of business practices in South Africa,” Mokoenene concludes.

Clement Mokoenene and his team.
A prototype of the Vehicle Energy Harvesting System.

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