“Parasitic” energy harvesting systems. An Israeli company shows it can collect energy from Israel’s highways.
Think of the volume of traffic on your city highways. It’s just going to waste. But hopefully not for long: an Israeli company Innowattech has found a way to take the mechanical energy created by cars to convert it to power we can use.
I’ve interviewed Innowattech when they started releasing news about their pizoelectric harvesting system late in 2008 and earlier this year, and in a new Globes story, the Green Autoblog reports on the company’s progress.
Placing their power generating crystals underneath roads in Israel, Innowattech has been demonstrating how its technology works. In conjunction with the Israel National Roads Company and the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology (where the research behind the company first began), the company has installed its small piezoelectric generators five centimeters below the asphalt’s surface.
As the weight of the cars pass over the collection system Innowattech is able to capture energy that would otherwise just go to waste. The test site in Israel was at the Hefer intersection along the old coastal road of Route 4 in Israel.
Collecting some 2000 watts an hour in “regular” traffic conditions – that is not during traffic jams –– Innowattech stores the energy in its roadside batteries that can be used the power for street lamps and small neighbourhoods – or we suppose, when the technology allows it, the power collected could straight to the grid.
Drivers in Israel reported feeling no difference between roads with or without the system, and the technology could go much farther, the company admits, when battery storage technology improves.
Many Israeli companies including the electric car company Better Place (working with Ontario as Canada’s Israel reported earlier) find that Israel is the perfect playground for testing out new technologies. The government and local industry is quick to support new initiatives.
And if you are interested in what’s new, some projects and approaches will be unveiled at the country’s annual President’s Conference in Jerusalem this week.
According to Green Autoblog: Innowattech’s “first implementation was over a relatively small ten-meter stretch of road on Israel’s main north-south highway, and is now being placed in one-kilometer sections for further study.”
Innowattech, founded by Prof. Haim Abramovich, from the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology, created a sensation last year when the company released news that it was planning a pilot plant in Israel to generate energy from cars as they drive down the road.
Prof. Abramovich tells me that he has no plans on limiting the technology to roads. The basic principle could be applied to city sidewalks, it could be put in McDonald’s stores as people stand in line, he says, or it could be used on airport runways or on train tracks. Electric burgers, electric runways, and electric avenues! Eddy Grant should be proud.
(This post first appeared on the Canada’s Israel blog)