Piezoelectric Road Produces Electricity From Traffic

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Engineers have created a new type of road capable of turning the vibration caused by cars into electricity.

The revolutionary new surface, created by engineers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, uses piezoelectric crystals embedded in the asphalt to generate up to 400 kilowatts of energy from a 1 kilometer stretch, enough to run eight electric cars.

Commenting on the innovation, a spokesman from the UK Environmental Transport Association said, “Many predict a massive shift to electric cars, and it may be the roads themselves that help provide some of the power needed.”

The new surface is scheduled to be tested in Northern Israel later this month and, if successful, may be rolled out on a larger scale in the UK and Ireland.

If the system was rolled out on a large enough scale, and accompanied by a mass adoption of electric cars, it is possible that a virtuous energy loop could be created, capable of drastically reducing carbon emissions from transport. Even if electric cars fail to become as popular as anticipated by many in the industry, it is still possible that the new system could contribute to a significant reduction in overall economy-wide emissions, providing a much needed silver lining to the problem of heavy traffic.

Image Credit – kla4067 via flickr.com on a Creative Commons license

 

Andrew Williams

is a writer and freelance journalist specialising in sustainability and green issues. He lives in Cardiff, Wales.