AutoRoads that generate energy, one more step towards the...

Roads that generate energy, one more step towards the future

We are in a time of change , in which society is realizing the importance of sustainable energy for the future of the planet . Little by little, we are understanding that renewable energy, that is, that obtained from natural and inexhaustible sources, is the only one that will help us to take care of the environment. For these reasons, the idea of taking advantage of the movement of cars, the sun or the wind to generate energy on the roads is gaining more and more followers. And, thanks to these systems, street lamps, traffic lights, light signals or ventilation and heating systems could be maintained, especially in areas isolated from the electricity grid.

Development and infrastructure

It is true that these types of proposals are still in the design phase or, at best, in the experimental phase, since further development and infrastructure are needed for their generalization. However, it is also true that those who are committed to this idea are determined to carry it out, since they firmly believe that the fact that highways are capable of generating electricity will mark a before and after in our society.

But, what benefits do energy-generating roads bring us ? In the first place, the fact that each element has its own generator on the highway, and that it is powered by vehicles when driving, eliminates a large part of the cost, facilitates repair, reduces production, installation and maintenance costs, and respects Caring for the environment. The problem with many of these technologies are some barriers that have not yet been eliminated, such as geographical conditions, the length of highways, etc. However, solutions are already being sought to solve these problems and allow these innovative systems to be put into operation. In short, the future of this type of infrastructure is closer and closer.

New proposals

One of the first initiatives that arose to generate energy through roads was based on installing electro-kinetic energy ramps, capable of harnessing the energy produced by vehicles when passing overhead, which in turn is transmitted to an engine that produces enough power to power nearby electrical devices. At present, other technologies have emerged such as piezoelectric pumping, which is a type of pulsed energy generation that consists of deforming or squeezing a piezoelectric material determined times per minute to charge a battery, generating more or less energy depending on the force that is applied on the piezoelectric.

Other technologies currently being tested is the installation of catenaries on roads . In this way, it is achieved that the cargo trucks migrate towards electrical energy, since it is very difficult to charge them with electric batteries, due to their large size and the load they transport. Sweden became, in 2016, the first country to create a model of an electric highway with a catenary. However, three years later, there are already many more testing this type of system in Europe.

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