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December 5 2012

Device harvests energy from train tracks

There are more than 140,000 miles of train track in the U.S., many of them laid across lonely stretches of land with nary a power line in sight. Thankfully, there’s a new gadget to harvest energy from vibrations generated in the track by passing trains to power signal lights and other track-side devices.

The energy harvester could save more than $10 million in trackside power costs in New York state alone, according to its inventor, Stony Brook University professor of mechanical engineering Lei Zuo. It would also reduce carbon dioxide emissions there by about 3,000 tons, he added.

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