A new type of road being developed in Israel uses crystals embedded in the asphalt to turn the vibration caused by cars into electricity.
Engineers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology claim the piezoelectric crystals can produce up to 400 kilowatts from a 1-kilometre stretch of dual carriageway. The system is to be tested on a 100-metre stretch of road in northern Israel in January.
A spokesperson for the Environmental Transport Association (ETA) said: “Many predict a massive shift to electric cars, and it may be the roads themselves that help provide some of the power needed.”
Well, I doubt this last bit, as converting the entire (for example) British road system to this technology would only generate enough power to drive 34,500 small cars. Still, any projects attempting to harvest and use waste energy are to be encouraged.
And this reminds me of a Centenial College experiment from a few years back in which students tried to determine whether wind generated by traffic on the 401 could power a turbine. It could not, unfortunately:
Average wind speeds over a year, recorded at a 30-metre height, are "right on the margins of what would make a wind project there feasible," said Herb Sinnock, a Centennial instructor who helped make the case for installing the device.
Though a turbine was not built in T.O., here's an artist's conception of what one might look like:
Cool huh? Mind you, if one got loose and started rolling East at 60 Mph...