California Eyes Unusual Power Source: Its Gridlocked Roads

LOS ANGELES (AP) — All those cars on California’s famously gridlocked highways could be doing more than just using energy – they could be producing it.

The California Energy Commission is investing $2 million to study whether piezoelectric crystals can be used to produce electricity from the mechanical energy created by vehicles driving on roads.

The commission is in the process of choosing a company or university to take on small-scale field tests. It will study how the small crystals, which generate energy when compressed, could produce electricity for the grid if installed under asphalt.

The $2 million California is using to test the technology will come from a renewable investment fund created by the California Public Utilities Commission. Bidding will end Nov. 18, and the commission will award the contract in the spring.

(© Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


One Comment

  1. bounce says:

    This is a terrible idea.

    This energy isn’t free, it gets converted (inefficiently) from energy that the vehicles driving on the piezo-electric crystals need to produce to overcome the increased rolling resistance. The energy consumption of the vehicles will go up, and the vehicle owners will be footing the bill for this “free” energy.

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