This can be achieved by using piezoelectric materials under busy roads. The property is aptly known as piezoelectricity and it’s the ability to produce electric power in response to applied mechanical stress, and in this case this stress is the movement of vehicles on the roads. The concept was originally developed by Innowattech and now the company is laying down a sort of test road in Israel. Is it a solution to the global energy and environment crisis? It could very well be.
According to Innowattech (in fact, it should be common knowledge) massive amounts of mechanical energy go waste when millions of vehicles move on the roads. The piezoelectric generators harvest that energy and save them in roadside batteries that can be used by people. This process is also known as Parasitic Energy harvesting.
Under the upper asphalt there is a layer of piezoelectric crystals that produce electricity when squeezed.
According to people at Innowattech the Piezo Electric Generator (IPEG™) should be able to produce 200KWh, while a four-lane highway would produce about 1MWh of electricity, per kilometer, enough to provide power to 2500 households. Considering that Israel has about 250 kilometers of roadways suitable for the technology, in terms of volumes of traffic, and the mass of vehicles taking the roads, you can very well imagine how much electricity can be produced.
The same technology can be implemented on airport runaways and rail systems. The system also has the capacity to deliver real-time data on the weight, frequency and speed of passing vehicles as well as the spacing between vehicles.
Although initially revealed last year, this is a really exciting project and large green energy corporations and environmental organizations are closely monitoring its progress. No infrastructure is required. You don’t need to set up wind farms or solar panels and use up vast areas. You simply have to use the roads that you already have.
“The technology is based on piezoelectric materials that enable the conversion of mechanical energy exerted by the weight of passing vehicles into electrical energy. As far as the drivers are concerned, the road is the same,” according to Dr. Lucy Edery-Azulay, the project manager.