California Freeways Will Soon Generate Electricity

Freeways inspire road rage, serve as giant trash receptacles and take us home, often very slowly.

And now, a new statewide initiative means they could soon be generating some much-needed electricity.

The office of L.A.-area Assemblyman Mike Gatto announced recently that the California Energy Commission has agreed to fund multiple piezoelectric pilot projects in the Golden State. 

According to a state energy commission report, “Piezoelectric crystals give an electrical discharge when mechanically stressed.” So as vehicles roll over a highway embedded with these crystals, an electrical current is created, which can be harvested to feed the grid.

Similar programs have been launched in Israel and Japan, while Italy has a roadway project in the works. And the San Francisco nightclub Temple has even installed a piezoelectric dance floor.

“I still get stopped on the street by people who ask what happened to the idea of using our roads to generate electricity,” Gatto says. “California is the car capital of the world, and we recycle just about everything. So why not capture the energy from road vibrations and put it to good use?”… (more)

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