Electronics > Power/Renewable Energy/EV's

Energy harvesting systems - pre 1950

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Just came across this image thinking  :wtf:  ... but after a quick search, discovered what it was all about.

The Balmain Counterweight Dummy
Electric trams handled the steep terrain of Sydney much better than the steam trams, but some hills were just too much. One of these was the 1/4 mile of Darling St in Balmain which led to the wharf, which had a grade of 1 in 8.25. To enable trams to operate this section, a counterweight trolley was installed under the road surface, connected by cable to a cable tram grip dummy on the track on the surface. A tram descending would push the grip dummy ahead of it (which raised the counterweight). On the return journey, the grip dummy would give the tram a helpful push. This unique contraption can be seen at the Sydney Tramway Museum, Loftus.


Made me wonder: What else is/was out there?

Similar are 2 cable tethered train track operations in NZ.

The Wellington cable car that has 2 passenger cars tethered to the same looped cable on parallel tracks and moved now by an electric winching system. Commenced operation in 1902 powered by steam and changed to electric in 1933.
Still running today.

No longer operative is what was once called the 8th wonder of the world, the Denniston Incline.
A very steep cable linked coal wagon railway that used the weight of a full wagon to return empty ones to the coal source. Ran for nearly 90 years.
Been there and looked over the edge..... the buggers were mad.  :scared:

From the world of water:
And irrigation/water pipelines have had hydro turbine recovery of energy for 100 years or more.

Many of the stations on the deep tube lines in London are higher than the tracks either side. This means the trains travel uphill as they approach the station which helps with braking. The trains then leave the stations onto a downhill section, recovering the energy and helping with acceleration.  I'm pretty sure a lot of other similar railways have this feature too.

I can't remember any of the details but I read about an iron ore railway somewhere that is energy neutral or even a net generator because of the regenerative braking of the trains going from a high iron ore mine down to a sea port.  Does this ring any bells with anyone?

Also: Ram Pumps.   You can pump water up a large distance by using a larger amount of water flowing from a low head. 

Explained here:

It's interesting to think that this is a mechanical version of a boost converter.  The inertia of the water acts as the inductance, the air pressure chamber on the outlet is a smoothing capacitor and the valves are the switches. Low voltage, high current in - high voltage, low current out.

It also provides a great rhythm for some country-blues!


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