Highway image

It might be hard to imagine that bumper-to-bumper traffic could ever do anything good for the environment.

But in the not-so-distant future, cars and trucks might provide a new source of renewable energy.

California is exploring technology that would convert the vibrations from vehicles on roadways to electricity.

The process is similar to what voice recognition software does when it turns the vibrations of your voice into electrical signals.

Gravely: “If you can capture that energy and use it as a source of electricity, it would create another source of renewable energy that currently is not being captured at all.”

That’s Michael Gravely at the California Energy Commission’s division of research and development. He says the idea is not new, but no commercially viable system has yet been developed.

So the Commission is investing in pilot projects that will explore whether the technology is cost-effective on a large scale.

The potential is huge. Scientists say that a ten-mile stretch of four-lane road could power the city of Burbank – with a population of more than 100,000 people.

It’s an innovation that could create good vibrations on the road to clean energy.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.
Image graphic: Created by David McCarthy.

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