Who could ever think that potholed roads in Boston can parent two students of Massachusetts Institute Of Technology (MIT) into acclaimed Entrepreneurs !
The young Indian American , Shakeel Avadhany, because of his frustration in drive to college through the potholed roads in the city, made him observe what actually happens to the shock absorbers of his car, when they hit the potholes. He concluded that these shock absorbers were consuming the impact and dissipating the resulting vibration into heat energy that was wasted or lost. Brooding over this idea and after having a discussion with his friend Zack, they clinched a solution to capture this lost energy by creating a shock absorber so that it could convert it to generate electricity. Thus their idea finally procreated into the product “GENSHOCK- Energy harvesting Shock Absorber” and today Shakeel is the CEO of a multi – million dollar US Company, Levant Power Corporation ( Taken from a Latin word meaning – UPLIFT), which he co- founded with his MIT classmate Zack Anderson in 2009.
The duo, after several months of experimentation on conventional telescopic shock absorbers, came up with an ingenious idea of creating an shock absorber that uses the bouncing and vibrations of the vehicle to pump a fluid through a hydraulic motor which is coupled to a generator that produces electricity to drive accessories or charge the battery. They tested their design by renting different models of cars and outfitting their suspension with sensors to determine the energy potential which gave the result that a “significant amount of energy” was being wasted , especially in case of heavier automobiles. Furthermore, the test showed that for a heavy truck, with six of their prototype shock absorbers fitted to it, they could generate up to an average of 1 KW per absorber on a standard road.
Apart from controlling the movement of springs and suspension, the shock absorbers also keep the tyres of the car in contact with the ground which gets compromised if at any time the tyre’s contact with the ground is reduced or broken. The team ensnared this towering idea from MIT laboratory to the commercial arena and engaged in developing GENSHOCK for on board electrical generation for defence, transit buses, rail, passenger vehicles, industrial and also marine application. Reports affirm that if this technology can achieve anywhere between 1-6% in fuel efficiency , it can cut fuel use by more than 2,50,000 barrels every year in the US alone.
Shakeel and Zack have created an innovation which has an immense capability of revolutionizing the automobile industry in the near future. It has resulted into less fuel consumption, more mileage, energy generation and is indeed a step towards a cleaner and greener planet.
Tanima Chakraborty | TOC
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