The search for environmentally friendly solutions to our transport problems continues. Engineers in Israel have developed a road surface that actually generates power when a car drives over it. The Israelis claim that one kilometre of the new road can generate 400 kilowatts of power, enough to run eight small vehicles.
Andrew Davis, director of the Environmental Transport Association (ETA), explains the potential of the new road surface, “The government predicts a massive shift to electric cars, and it may be that roads themselves will provide some of the new fuel. Certain vehicles could be powered entirely by the roads on which they drive”.
The new road surface contains piezoelectric cells that generate electricity when squeezed. When a tyre rolls over the asphalt the cells emit an electrical charge. The ETA, which is a British charity dedicated to transport and the environment, claims that if the system was installed throughout the British motorway system it would generate sufficient power to fuel 34,500 cars. Davis concluded, “If these electric roads can be put in place without harm to the environment they would be a silver lining to the problem of heavy traffic”.
The new road surface will be trialed by engineers from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in January.