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Clean Power road

Published on December 17th, 2008 | by Ariel Schwartz

17

Israeli Company Testing Piezoelectric Road

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road

More news from the piezoelectrics front: engineers from Innowattech are planning to test a network of Piezo Electric Generators (IPEG) on a 100 meter stretch of road. As with other piezoelectric devices, the IPEGs embedded in the road will turn mechanical strain into an electrical current or voltage. The IPEGs can generate energy from weight, motion, vibration, and temperature changes.

Energy harvested from the IPEGs can either be transferred back to the electrical grid or used for public infrastructure (i.e. lighting).

Innowattech estimates that its system will scale up to 400 kilowatts from a one kilometer stretch of dual carriageway. While the initial IPEG test will be on a roadway, the company says that its technology can also be used on airport runways and rail systems.

Best of all, IPEGs can be attached during the paving of new roads or during maintenance work. Innowattech’s system may not end up being cheap, but it’s unquestionably useful.

Photo Credit: Innowattech





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About the Author

was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a senior editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine, and more. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.



  • Andrew

    This technology creates energy at the expense of the work of the car. It causes the car to expend more energy to achieve the same velocity, creating worse gas mileage. In my opinion, not a good application.

  • Andrew

    This technology creates energy at the expense of the work of the car. It causes the car to expend more energy to achieve the same velocity, creating worse gas mileage. In my opinion, not a good application.

  • http://innowattech.co.il Yael Greenberg

    Now, obviously, all those above commenting that the kinetis energy is being “stolen” from the cars and that cars will have to work harder have not read the article correctly and have not looked into this technology. As it says above, IPEGs convert harvested mechanical energy into electrical. This technology is based on the underlying quality of piezoelectric generators, that generate energy when pressure/deformation is applied to them. This will not reduce cars’ MPG or affect the quality of the roads.

  • http://innowattech.co.il Yael Greenberg

    Now, obviously, all those above commenting that the kinetis energy is being “stolen” from the cars and that cars will have to work harder have not read the article correctly and have not looked into this technology. As it says above, IPEGs convert harvested mechanical energy into electrical. This technology is based on the underlying quality of piezoelectric generators, that generate energy when pressure/deformation is applied to them. This will not reduce cars’ MPG or affect the quality of the roads.

  • Rif

    @Alec

    Spot on, this works as an energy tax on the passing cars. A very inefficient scheme.

    Do anyone remember the other “wonderful” idea a couple of years back of installing wind turbines in the guard rails of the motorway, to be powered by the wind of the passing cars.

  • Rif

    @Alec

    Spot on, this works as an energy tax on the passing cars. A very inefficient scheme.

    Do anyone remember the other “wonderful” idea a couple of years back of installing wind turbines in the guard rails of the motorway, to be powered by the wind of the passing cars.

  • Vlad

    However, if this was implemented on landing strips in airports, it could help slow down planes and therefore not only generate electricity, but save on brakes, and whatever other means airplanes use to slow themselves.

    Also, doesn’t it say that it can work with temperature changes? ..that seems like a free and constant form of energy input, especially in a place like Israel, where I imagine the temperature changes from day to night.

  • Vlad

    However, if this was implemented on landing strips in airports, it could help slow down planes and therefore not only generate electricity, but save on brakes, and whatever other means airplanes use to slow themselves.

    Also, doesn’t it say that it can work with temperature changes? ..that seems like a free and constant form of energy input, especially in a place like Israel, where I imagine the temperature changes from day to night.

  • http://globalpatriot.com Global Patriot

    The prospects of “absorbing” energy are great, and getting a lot of play in the press, but we must be certain that the energy is truly being captured, as opposed to generated by other means that create unintended inefficiencies.

    Case in point, all the hoopla surrounding hydrogen as an energy source, when it takes far more energy on the intake than you get on the back side of the equation.

  • http://globalpatriot.com Global Patriot

    The prospects of “absorbing” energy are great, and getting a lot of play in the press, but we must be certain that the energy is truly being captured, as opposed to generated by other means that create unintended inefficiencies.

    Case in point, all the hoopla surrounding hydrogen as an energy source, when it takes far more energy on the intake than you get on the back side of the equation.

  • M Lynge

    The question is…. Where does the energy come from?

    If this is just absorbing excess energy that’d go into the ground, all well and good, but if this causes the cars/planes/trains to use more fuel there’s really no point….

  • M Lynge

    The question is…. Where does the energy come from?

    If this is just absorbing excess energy that’d go into the ground, all well and good, but if this causes the cars/planes/trains to use more fuel there’s really no point….

  • M Lynge

    The question is…. Where does the energy come from?

    If this is just absorbing excess energy that’d go into the ground, all well and good, but if this causes the cars/planes/trains to use more fuel there’s really no point….

  • Alec

    *sigh*

    The power this kind of thing produces is extracted from the kinetic energy of the car driving over it. These piezoelectric pads compress when the car drive over much the same was sand deforms when you run over it. The cars will have to work harder and get lower fuel economy. The conversion form gasoline to electricity will be far, FAR worst then stationary generators. And these generators are second only to coal as the worst source of electricity available.

  • Alec

    *sigh*

    The power this kind of thing produces is extracted from the kinetic energy of the car driving over it. These piezoelectric pads compress when the car drive over much the same was sand deforms when you run over it. The cars will have to work harder and get lower fuel economy. The conversion form gasoline to electricity will be far, FAR worst then stationary generators. And these generators are second only to coal as the worst source of electricity available.

  • AnthonyIac

    Great. Now let’s get this going EVERYWHERE!

  • AnthonyIac

    Great. Now let’s get this going EVERYWHERE!

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