Sept. 20, 2008
 
Power Outage Partially Closes Marshall, Pullman
Gasless Power Wagon New Option for Blackouts, Brownouts, Mobile Electricity

By Tony Rutherford
Huntingtonnews.net Reporter
 
Huntington, WV (HNN) – Marshall University canceled classes Friday, Sept. 19 due to a power outage which blackened most of the campus. According to Appalachian Power, a failed splice in an underground substation caused the outage.
 
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Drinko Library, the Robert C Byrd Biotechnology Science Center and portions of Old Main remained open as they have backup generators.
 
The failure also impacted businesses at Pullman Square, where Five Guys and Starbucks had closed for the day. Empire Books had a check back at 5 p.m. sign on the door.
 
But all could have been open if they had the battery generator Power Wagon which debuted at the St. Joseph Grade School Carnival. Paul Wilks, the inventor of the gasless generator, has built a battery powered device which recharges by merely turning the wheels.
 
Charging from the torque of wheels rolling, the device runs lights, air conditioning, refrigerators, and even inflatable slides.
 
The noiseless device charges its batteries by attaching the trailer to the back of a vehicle --- or for that matter a horse and wagon.”It rolls itself,” explained Wilks, adding that it can provide power in remote settings, at construction sites, for emergency situations, or as a gasless alternative to power your home or office. 0A
 
Wilks, who once drove a truck, has been working on the invention about seven years. The idea came from seeing the wheels of trucks turn.” I started piecing it together seven or eight years ago. I did not know if I could make it work.” He envisioned capturing that energy as a substitute for gas.
 
Currently, only his family members and a judge have been utilizing the Power Wagon.
 
A federal judge approached Wilks three years ago after becoming dissatisfied with the noise and fumes of gas a generator on his boat.
 
“He had a generator on his boat and his family got sick,” Wilks explained. A friend steered the judge to Wilks invention. “I think what you got there should be on my boat,” Wilks said paraphrasing the jurist. “This is going on the third season and it’s still running his boat. He loves it. As soon as he got it put together, he got rid of his generator.”
 
John Howard, manager of M & M Inflatables, Ironton, Ohio, ecstatically stated, “I’ve never seen anything like it before. We could take this places without electricity. It would be great for festivals; it’s not very loud. You can’t hear it run. It saves on gas; it would pay for itself in about a year’s time with us.” Speaking about a power failure a few w eeks ago in and around Newport/Covington, Ky., Wilks told Howard that the Power Wagon could have operated during the black out. Grinning, he said that his house would have been the only one with lights.
 
On lookers expressed amazement as the device powered machines at the St. Joe carnival. One individual foresaw the device as having a wide variety of military uses (such as providing power in Iraq) or as an asset for THEMA, which faces powerless disasters. Pointing to a set of generator powered lights which the carnival would utilize after dark, Wilks explained “you could put a light system on this that could light up just as much as those.”
 
Wilks indicated that a group of West Virginia University engineers have given a &nbs p;thumbs up for the invention, for which a patent application is pending. “They said it needed to be on the market now,” the inventor said of the WVU examination of the gasless generator.
 
Asked often whether a car could be built to run on it, he grinned and shrugged favorably. But, that project would be too large for him. Still, many of those marveling at the device aptly described it as “the wave for the future.”
 
Wilks can be contacted at (304) 544-4093. He will soon have a website at: http://www.thepowerwagon.com.
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