Morgana Matus

New Inexpensive Technology Generates Electricity from Vehicle and Pedestrian Traffic

by , 12/03/13

car traffic, step-ramp road, electricity generation

Wallowing in traffic seems like an enormous waste of time and resources. But what if you could generate a little power during your daily commute? A Mexican entrepreneur has developed technology that collects electricity from the movements of vehicles and pedestrians, and since the device works with existing roads and sidewalks, the system could be an excellent way to capture the forces of current transportation networks without great expense.


pedestrian traffic, step-ramp road, electricity generation

Developed by Héctor Ricardo Macías Hernández, the system is comprised of a polymeric material that is elevated several centimeters above street level. As cars or walkers depress the ramp, pressure is exerted on a set of bellows below. The bellows contain air that is then forced through a hose and sent to a turbine. The amount of energy capable of being harvested is proportional to the amount of cars passing over the area, so places with light traffic would need several “ramp-step” systems to generate enough juice. Similarly, the technology would be most effective with high rates of pedestrian movement, such as in a subway or shopping center.

Aside from an English patent that uses expensive piezoelectric floors, the ramp-step system is the first of its kind in the world to cheaply take advantage of traffic flow.  Hernández worked closely with the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) to determine the viability of the project and patent his invention. Soon, freeways and walkways could do their part in sustaining the urban ecosystem through providing cheap electricity.

+ Mexican Institute of Industrial Property

Via ScienceDaily

Images via Wikicommons users Shyaulis Andrjus and Alex Proimos

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3 Comments

  1. nicephotog December 11, 2013 at 11:34 pm

    Nice try, but unfortunately, that’s more like “collecting tax as electricity” because the laws of kinetics in physics is you don’t get something from nothing and to trip the mechanism by vibration requires energy from somewhere. It is true that concrete bridges vibrate seriously when trucks and cars move over them, or wooden stairs vibrate heavily, or steel frame work stairs too, but it probably isn’t practical in the terms of its expensive distribution distances to collect it, only perhaps for incidental areas where those types of vibration structures are present in abundance. Interesting.

  2. Jos Conil December 4, 2013 at 1:57 am

    An Israeli firm had produced a similar method using peizo electric strips http://www.innowattech.co.il/technology.aspx

  3. RobinR December 3, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    Why would anyone do this? Are there some electrical systems along the roads that are beyond reach of power lines or why else would you build a system that increases overall energy consumption while harvesting some energy through an apparently lossy process from movement of cars and causing them to use more fuel? Is this supposed to be a new form of taxation. Surely there are easier ways which also harm the environment less.

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