Electric Avenue: Road power rises

Starting next year, California will start making electricity from its roads.

The state is pilot-testing piezoelectric sensors, which turn mechanical pressure or stress into power. The sensors, each about the size of a dime, will be embedded in road surfaces and wired together. As cars and trucks press on and vibrate the road, the sensors will generate power. It’s estimated that a 1.5-mile stretch of one of the state’s busy highways could generate enough electricity to power 1,100 homes.
The power could be sold to a utility or businesses and homes along the road generating the electricity.

TRENDPOST: Other states are watching California’s venture. If it proves successful, more states will follow suit and not only will demand for piezoelectric technology soar, but piezopower will begin to be adapted for other uses. Sidewalks could be next. On a grander scale, with each new alternative energy development, fossil fuels, already suffering low prices from over supply and falling demand, will cut deeper into the oil, gas and coal industries’ profit margins.


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