Researchers are looking at advanced materials for roads and pavements that could generate electricity from passing traffic.
Engineers from Lancaster University are working on smart materials such as ‘piezolectric’ ceramics that when embedded in road surfaces would be able to harvest and convert vehicle vibration into electrical energy.
The research project, led by Professor Mohamed Saafi, will design and optimise energy recovery of around one to two Megawatts per kilometre under ‘normal’ traffic volumes – which is around 2,000 to 3,000 cars an hour.
This amount of energy, when stored, is the amount needed to power between 2,000 and 4,000 street lamps. As well as providing environmental benefits, this would also deliver significant costs savings for taxpayers.