Californians May Soon Be Generating Electricity on Their Daily Commute

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Image by Prayitno via Flickr Creative Commons license.
Image by Prayitno via Flickr Creative Commons license.

Traffic in Los Angeles, and throughout the state of California, can often be quite a nightmare. It’s one of the many reasons more and more drivers are choosing electric vehicles (EVs), hybrids and public transportation.  I mean it’s kind of scary to think how much gasoline and money goes to waste every day just due to cars getting stuck in traffic. If we can gather energy through renewable sources like the sun, wind and water, why not put the hundreds of thousands of cars traveling California freeways to good use? Well, according to LAWeekly and Assemblyman Mike Gatto, “The California Energy Commission has agreed to fund multiple piezoelectric pilot projects here in California.”

For those who are unfamiliar, piezoelectricity is the electric charge generated from pressure or mechanical stress being applied to certain types of solid materials. For example, by adding piezoelectric crystals to roadways, an electrical current can be generated whenever vehicles drive along the road. This energy would then be harvested and fed into the state’s electrical grid.

California is not the first place to have such a project go into effect. Israel, Japan and Italy reportedly have similar programs either already in place or currently in the works. A dance club in San Francisco has even used this technology, on a much smaller scale, to power its lighting. As stated in the press release issued by the Assemblyman’s office, all it would take is piezoelectric crystals embedded in a 10-mile stretch of a four-lane highway to power an entire city like Burbank, CA.

With innovative ideas such as this continuing to be brought to fruition we, as a society, will have a much better chance of being able to reach and surpass our renewable energy goals. As the future depends on what we do here and now, why not harvest the energy we are capable of generating on a daily basis?

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