ELECTRIFYING THOUGHTS: Steve Eaves, vice president of Eaves Devices, helps lead the company, which is developing a charging system for hybrid vehicles that can be powered from different sources on the road.
As a child, Steve Eaves remembers taking electrical wiring, tying it together and asking his mother to plug it into the wall. The result was a big, blue fire.
“All she said was, ‘Don’t tell your father,’ ” said Eaves, vice president of Eaves Devices and winner of the 2011 Providence Business News’ Energy & the Environment Innovation Award. The Charlestown-based company has developed a technology that separates electrical power into short pulses and can continue to translate power even in an outage.
His latest project chips away at one of the foremost issues in Rhode Island and across the country, renewable energy. Just last month, Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee signed into law four renewable energy bills aimed at helping the state create a future that supports a green environment.
Along those lines, Eaves is developing a charging system for electric hybrid vehicles that can be powered from different sources on the road, such as electrical signals at a stoplight or exposed conductors on the road surface. With the new technology, called Packet Energy Transfer, each packet, sent by a transmitter, has identifying features with a digital key or code. The packet can recognize if the code is incorrect and the transmitter stops sending the packets.
This technology allows the electric vehicles to be charged while traveling, rather than only at a single charging station.
“I’ve always had an interest in electricity and energy, and electric transportation is the key to electric renewable energy,” he said.
Eaves, 47, said he invested $60,000 of his own money into the venture. His hope is to first apply road-surface charging to electric taxis and shuttles.
“After college, I started getting into batteries,” he said. “In my 30s, I was consulted on the government’s B-2 bomber when they upgraded the battery. “I got a contract to do the power.”