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Electric power generated from Traffic flowViews: 342
Aug 11, 2009 5:49 amElectric power generated from Traffic flow#

Ron Sam
Scientists in Israel say they have invented a way of turning traffic into electricity.

The bright sparks at the country's Technion Institute of Technology in Haifa have developed a road that generates power when vehicles pass over it.

And they hope the technology will reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.

In a university car park, Haim Abramovich and his team run a heavy truck repeatedly over a special stretch of tarmac.

"The name of the game is harvesting," he told Sky News. "Harvesting means energy which is available but is going to waste.

"So what I want to is to harvest part of that energy and make it useful. This is the name of the game and this is my dream."

Making his dream come true are hundreds of rugged metallic crystals. When put under pressure they generate electricity.

So lined up in special pads buried under the tarmac, they create power. It is called 'piezo' electricity. It has been around a while, but never used like this before.

One truck can generate 2,000 volts, but to create useful electricity you need a lot of amps too and that requires many pads over hundreds of meters and a high percentage of traffic, preferably moving quickly.

The team is pioneering the idea on a 30 meter strip of highway near Tel Aviv.

It could be used to power traffic lights or street lamps already, but with sufficient progress the technology may one day generate enough electricity to send power to the national grid.

A company called Innowattech is working with the team to develop the technology.

It estimates a kilometre of 'electric road' could generate enough power for 40 houses.

There are also plans to put the crystal generators in railways, where trains can be guaranteed to apply pressure in the same place over and over again.


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