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By using piezoelectricity to harness the mechanical energy that cars put on the road, we could produce energy as a byproduct of travel.


Guidance on collaborative pilot

This is a pilot test of a new, collaborative approach for getting work done in the Climate CoLab. It will run during March and April of 2012.

Just like in the 2011 activities, anyone can create a proposal. But there is also a community proposal, where members are encouraged to work together in a collaborative way. Any member can contribute to the community proposal as long as they are logged in.

The community proposal is like a wiki, so the history of edits is tracked, and you can revert to prior versions of the proposal if desired.

Please also use the Comments to express your opinion on whether or not you would like to see this collaborative approach used in the Climate CoLab in 2012.

Feel free to organize the proposal as you see fit. One thought—it's good to have a brief summary of the overall proposal at the top, as an aid to readers.

Proposal Text


Piezoelectric energy is produced by using the mechanical energy produced as a force is applied to a surface. Basically, it means harvesting the energy from the force you put into the ground when you take a step. It has been used in dance clubs and schools to power lights, and it was used during the London Olympics to help produce power. The same theory could be applied to roadways. If piezoelectric devices, basically pressure pads, could be put into the roads. As cars drive over them electricity would be produced. This would create energy that could be used to power streetlights and other devices. This would decrease the amount of fossil fuels used to power these important devices and would help to decrease carbon emissions. When you think about how many cars there are and how much people drive around, this is a actually a very viable possibility for development as a new energy source. While this path will not solve the entire problem, it can make some dent in it.

Category of the action

Reducing emissions from transportation

What actions do you propose?

Who will take these actions?

State and local governments would be responsible for installation.

Where will these actions be taken?

Along roadways throughout the country.

How much will emissions be reduced or sequestered vs. business as usual levels?

What are other key benefits?

What are the proposal’s costs?

Time line

This installation could start as soon as the piezoelectric pads are able to withstand the force that a car would put on them. Once that is accomplished, the installation can begin as soon as possible.

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