The Copenhagen wheel stores up energy for later

by Mark R

500x_cph_wheel049MIT Researchers have appropriately debuted the Copenhagen Wheel at the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change.

This big red wheel has a very unique ability:

When you brake, your kinetic energy is recuperated by an electric motor and then stored by batteries within the wheel, so that you can have it back to you when you need it.

It is similar to tech that has been on Formula One racers for the past couple of years. So the next time you are going up a steep hill with that Copenhagen wheel on your bike, simply release all that energy that you got by braking earlier. I don’t think there is any indicator of how much energy you have, because that extra energy sounds like something that could run out real fast.

The development of this bicycle wheel has stemmed from what people are calling a “biking renaissance” or “Biking 2.0” to describe how designers are using “cheap electronics” to allow them to “augment bikes and convert them into a more flexible, on-demand system”.

For example, the designers of the Copenhagen wheel want to use a series of sensors and a Bluetooth connection to an iPhone that would be mounted on the bikes’ handlebars. The wheel would monitor the bike’s speed, the distance travelled as well as collect data on air pollution.

I got to tell you, if bicycles get any more advanced, they will become motorcycles.



5 reviews or comments

Nicholas Bodley Says: December 19, 2009 at 4:49 am

Rather pathetic that someone connected with the project doesn’t know the difference between a motor and a generator. What could be confusing is that electric motors, given the right conditions, can function as generators. In this case, what’s there is a motor-generator.

[Squirrel-cage induction motors, ubiquitous devices, work as generators only if driven faster than synchronous speed, if connected to the power line, or if connected to a capacitive load, if running “standalone”. In the first case, some large wind turbines work that way; they’re connected to the power grid. Yes, that’s technical, and it’s info. that’s fairly obscure.]

However, if smart power electronics connects the motor/generator to a battery (or the power line), the whole system becomes more versatile — think hybrid cars.


Rich Says: January 4, 2010 at 4:51 pm

That is awesome, but it will probably be ridiculously overpriced like a lot of bike parts.

marc Says: January 21, 2010 at 4:55 pm

LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT, however there are other products that have been on the market for some tme now that much more capable like the bionx kit and the E+ motion system ( my favorites)

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