The compression of road surfaces from vehicular traffic (and the subsequent pressure release) produces high amounts of vibrations that can be harnessed and transformed into a significant source of renewable energy through road-embedded piezoelectric materials.
The Georgia Tech Research Institute proposes to develop and test thin-film, cost-competitive piezoelectric materials to be integrated into a state-of-the-art geosynthetic roadway reinforcement fabric. Similar to thin-film photovoltaics (PV), thin-film piezoelectric generators (GPEGs) are flexible and roll-able. However, unlike the capital intensive PV manufacturing process and products, thin-film piezoelectrics can be woven into existing U.S. Department of Transportation-approved sub-surface roadway fabrics, creating a low maintenance, low cost product that can be quickly commercialized and deployed at scale by today’s roadway developers.
Project contact: Ilan Stern