Monday, June 24, 2024

Piezoelectric Roads – Touch, Generate, Illuminate

Written By Maahi Mehta (Grade 10)

The global quest for sustainable and innovative energy solutions has led to the exploration of groundbreaking technologies, and one such promising avenue is the development of piezoelectric roads. This article delves into piezoelectric roads, examining their potential impact on energy generation, environmental sustainability, and the future of transportation infrastructure.

The piezoelectric effect refers to the conversion of mechanical energy into electrical energy and vice versa. Piezoelectric materials are crystals with an asymmetrical crystalline structure. When compressed, a shifting of the positive and negative charge centers in the material takes place, resulting in an external electrical field. 

If these piezoelectric materials are inserted below the tar of the road, the mechanical energy applied by moving vehicles can generate electricity. These piezoelectric materials are available in the form of piezoelectric plates. These plates have the PZT crystals trapped within two copper plates.

When these plates are embedded in a one-kilometer road the number of plates required would be 7,000. Each plate costs up to 6-8 rupees and the total cost including tarring would be around 2,50,000 rupees. However, the electricity generated is around 1,00,000 kWh. This much power is enough for 50 houses in India. The average amount 50 Indian houses pay for electricity is 12,000. So, by implementing this technology the cost is being reduced by a huge margin and roads are also made better. This also solves the problem of potholes and poor roads in rural areas. Disposal isn’t a problem either as these plates have a life span of 1 billion to 10 billion cycles. They also have a Curie temperature of 380 degree Celsius.

Instead of viewing roads as mere conduits for vehicles, we can now envision them as sources of clean and sustainable energy. This energy is clean, and renewable, and can contribute to our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change. We can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and move towards a greener future  The development and deployment of piezoelectric road technology create new economic opportunities, including research and development, manufacturing, and installation. This technology is adaptable to both urban and rural areas, making it a versatile solution for energy generation.

Featured Image Courtesy – Freepik


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