In both technology and on the highways, things go fast these days. If you remember, we talked about a piezoelectric electricity generating system last December, set up by engineers from Technion – Israel Institute of Technology.
So like I was saying, things moved fast: yesterday morning, the Hefer intersection along the old coastal road of Route 4 in Israel was the place where a piezoelectric generator was put to the test and generated some 2,000 watt-hours of electricity. The setup consists of a ten-meter strip of asphalt, with generators lying underneath, and batteries in the road’s proximity.
Being the first practical test of the system, the researchers still expect energetic and feasibility results. Technion was helped by Innowattech, a company from Israel to finish the pilot project. The project manager, Dr. Lucy Edery-Azulay, explained that the generators developed by Innowattech are embedded about five centimeters beneath the upper layer of asphalt. “The technology is based on piezoelectric materials that enable the conversion of mechanical energy exerted by the weight of passing vehicles into electrical energy. As far as the drivers are concerned, the road is the same,” she says.
Edery-Azulay added that expanding the project to a length of one kilometer along a single lane would produce 200 KWh, while a four-lane highway could produce about a MWh – sufficient electricity to provide for the average consumption in 2,500 households.
From the surveys the Israeli scientists did, their country has around 250 km of road that could be put to the use of piezoelectric technology. They counted the traffic volumes, and the mass of the vehicles taking those roads (like the Trans-Israel Highway, the Ayalon Highway and the coastal highway).
Following Israel’s results, maybe we’ll see these piezoelectric generators implemented worldwide in a few years: “We are happy to assist anyone seeking to cooperate with us in new developments. Innowattech researchers have brought us a true innovation, which is still under development,” said Alex Wisznicer, CEO of the Israel National Roads Company.