Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Israeli company turns traffic into energy source

Cars are stuck in traffic with the traffic lights not working, on a road in Changsha, Hunan province January 11, 2009. REUTERS/China Daily

By Ari Rabinovitch

HAIFA, Israel (Reuters) - An Israeli energy start-up wants to turn irritating rush hour traffic into a source of electricity.

Innowattech, an energy company affiliated with Israel's Technion Institute of Technology, said special generators placed under roads, railways and runways can harvest enough energy from passing vehicles to mass-produce electricity.

The generators contain material that produces electricity when mechanical force is applied, like the pressure from a passing car's tires.

The process, known as piezoelectricity, has been used for years on a smaller scale, including in barbecue lighters and a dance club where the pounding feet of dancers light the floor.

Uri Amit, chairman of Innowattech, said the company's technology will be the largest application of piezoelectrics to date, with a single 1-km (half-mile)-lane of highway providing up to 100 kw of electricity, enough to power about 40 houses. …

Israeli company turns traffic into energy source

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