Is motoring ready for wind? Up to you

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HOW do you solve the on-going debate over plans for a new North East Enterprise Zone AND make the world a cleaner place? The answer is blowing in the wind.

Chancellor George Osborne unveiled plans for a North East Enterprise Zone in last week’s budget speech – but its exact whereabouts are still unclear.

Some campaigners had highlighted Wearside’s claim, with the development of the low carbon training college and Nissan’s Sunderland plant due to begin producing the Leaf electric car in 2013, while others had suggested Tyneside’s burgeoning wind turbine industry would make it the ideal contender.

Now the Echo has learned of ambitions plans to combine the two, with the development of the ultimate in green motoring – the world’s first wind-powered electric car engine.

The new Breeze will feature a small roof-mounted turbine, allowing the car to generate its own power as it moves. The technology has been devised by Prof Robert Hay, of Sunderland University’s Centre for Kinetic Energy Research, and his colleague Dr Louis Prill, from the Minnesota Academy of Domestic Energy and Utilised Power.

The turbines will be produced on North Tyneside, while Wearside’s automotive industry will make the engines. The system has been tested successfully at China’s Green Energy Centre in N’yon-Sens.

“The Hay-Prill Fuel system is a completely revolutionary approach to the question of personal transport,” said centre spokesman Hav-hing Yuon.

“Simply clip the unit to the top of the car and plug it in at the back.

“The unit is so efficient, it actually generates more energy than is needed to drive the car, so the further and faster you go, the further and faster you will be able to go.

“On particularly breezy days, we calculate the average driver will generate so much electricity, they will be able to sell what they don’t use back to the National Grid.

“And of course, you’ll be able to remove it when you go the car wash – it would hardly be ‘clean’ energy otherwise.”

The early units are expected to retail for £10,411 but developers expect this cost to come down quickly as they become a familiar sight on Britain’s roads.