Using Traffic To Generate Electricity


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Leave it up to young students to transform a traffic intersection into an energy source. It’s too bad our politicians cannot think this far out of the box! Piezoelectric plates (the word piezoelectricity means electricity resulting from pressure) laid under walkways and the road capture the movement and vibrations of pedestrians and cars passing over them, converting that energy into electricity that can then be used to power almost anything in the vicinity. Imagine if these were laid under every major city in the United States; how much electricity could that generate with all the traffic on every street?

Let’s hope this type of thing actually starts getting implemented in this country rather than being pushed to the sideline in favor of less drastic (and more oil-company friendly) “green” developments.

via Yanko Design and designed by Ian Jaye, Jovan Popovic & Patrick Houin

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  1. The problem I see with this is that our roads are unstable – they need to be repaired too often.

    In my city, they’ve been fixing damaged roads and potholes for years and they are going to take another 10 million out of our tax dollars to fix some more. I can’t imagine how expensive these “generator roads” would be to fix.

    If this technology worked inside, perhaps in a mall, where the ground isn’t likely to fall apart, then I could see some potential.

  2. I think this is a great idea, but I really agree with Dan that if it were possible it may be better suited for indoors. Really neat post though!

  3. I actually read an article once about a technology that has been developed and planned and could turn roadways into solar panels. This type of thinking is exactly what it is going to take to turn around the damage that we are doing to our planet. Now we just need to get the funding to get it all implemented, and it is sure to pay back with interest in the long-run.

  4. The problem with piezoelectric roadways is that they increase the resistance of the road surface. Imagine driving through sand all day long. It will have a detrimental effect on fuel economy which will certainly outweigh the benefits of the roadway generated energy.

  5. YA I agree with you it would have a huge effect on fule econimy and roads do need to be repaired way to often. But the solar pannel thing might work. expecially if they were on the roads in western kansas that nobody drives on anyway.

  6. You could look at it a different way. It would not have to be the entire road being covered with them. It could be regions of high traffic and those areas could be reinforced to ensure their durability. A half mile of road, covered with PZ materials and then structurally reinforced would still generate quite a bit of electricity for every vehicle that crossed it. I am certain the durability issues could be compensated for if the stretch of road was of a limited length. Perhaps reducing speed in that area or even elevating it with some sort of metal or ceramic guard above it.

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