Awhile back we brought you a story about a company called New Energy whose Motion Power system presented an interesting energy harvester installed in roadways. The system is designed to capture energy from the motion of vehicles. It has undergone several successful real-world testing applications. Read more about it here.
Now, another company has entered the mix with a different type of "parasitic energy harvester." A small Israeli start-up called Innowattech has been working with the Israel National Roads Company and Israel's technological institute Technion.
Together, the three have come up with an energy harvester which involves placing tiny piezoelectric generators below the road surface. The units are a mere 5 cm below the surface and are activated by the weight of cars driving above. According to research and real-world use, the generators can capture 2000 watts per hour. The energy is stored in roadside batteries.
The system is in use in a small test bed setting on an Israeli highway. Driver's report the road feels no different than a normal road. The test bed only measures in at 10 meters in length, but a longer 1 km section outfitted with the generators is currently being built.
Innowattech's system may have an advantage over the Motion Power system. Driver's have noted that the Motion Power system is noticeable while driving over the actuated grates, while the Innowattech system with its piezoelectric generators is unnoticeable making it useable in more applications that the Motion Power harvester.