Gallery: New Piezoelectric Railways Harvest Energy From Passing Trains


Piezoelectric technology generates energy from pressure and stress on certain surfaces, and we’ve seen it harvest electricity from roads and dance floors to power lights and signs. Recently Israeli company Innowattech unveiled a new use for this versatile energy tech – they’re planning to install piezoelectric pads throughout the country’s railways to generate electricity.

The company has previously used piezoelectric pads on Israeli highways, and now they’re using similar (albeit larger) devices on railways. Innowattech plans on substituting 32 standard railway pads with their own piezoelectric IPEG PADS, which are of a similar design. In addition to generating energy, the new IPEG pads can determine the size of the wheel that passes over them, as well as the speed and weight of the vehicle.

A prototype of the energy-generating system was installed last year by the Technion University and Israel Railways in order to show the benefits of the technology. The project discovered that a railway track with trafficked by 10 to 20 ten-car trains could produce as much as 120 kWh, which could be used to power infrastructural systems such as signs and lights. Any surplus energy would then be uploaded to the country’s power grid.

+ Innowattech

Via Ecofriend


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  1. avalon90 September 23, 2014 at 11:58 am

    Where can we buy these modules.

  2. LOL101 June 3, 2013 at 3:26 am

    what are senses called need for school

  3. djaydelhi April 29, 2013 at 11:16 am

    I want to buy the generator made by INNOWATECH \”IPEG\”….can any body send me the link…

  4. TaimoorTanweer July 29, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    from where i can purchase… plss send me link

  5. adalton March 9, 2012 at 9:57 am

    Vwoods I’m sorry but I think you’re wrong. If anything, the pads would probably add to the rail flex, since the standard rail pads they replace are made of plate steel, which I’m sure is harder than the generator pads. The train would have a higher workload over the new pads.

  6. faisal February 20, 2012 at 6:16 am

    i was thinking to make this as be project.but u have already done this .that s a great idea hats off to u guys

  7. Calvin k March 28, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    It’s true that you cannot create energy out of nothing. But I think this is actually capturing “wasted” energy… energy that were previously just bending metals and creating heat and metal stress, as vwoods comment postulated

  8. adm12 March 24, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    how about putting one of these under the marital bed just under the mattress? give it an iphone app and a couple can track the vigor of their sex life over the years and also check for infidelity or gain proof for divorce court as well. and it’s good for the environment. if the kids ask what’s going on just tell them you are conducting scientific experiments for the good of the nation and mommy is just very happy about that.

  9. vwoods December 13, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    Metis’ comments have me thinking… The 1st rule of Thermodynamics is “You can’t win.” which is always true. That being said, exactly who “Peter” that we are stealing from to pay “Paul.” A train track is actually kind of floating about the gravel bed… when the train passes, the rails are deformed downward about .5 to 1 inch (depending on the mass of the cars). In that regard, the train is actually constantly going up a slight slope while moving. If the piezo materials cause less deformation by supporting the rails from beneath, then we may have a slightly more efficient system. The piezo’s are deformed providing a small amount of electrical charge, while the train track is deformed less and the effective slope the motion of the train is travelling on becomes less. So, where does this energy come from? That would be the elastic energy (heat) of the track. You are effectively heating the rails less and using that energy differential to create electrical energy. Make sense or am I completely wrong?

  10. metis December 10, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    what makes trains so great from an efficient transport is they’re not loosing energy from rolling friction like a truck does, with very hard wheels and tracks.

    while this might be great for recharging batteries on remote signal stations, it’s robbing peter to pay paul. the more energy the diesel electric generators on train engines have to dump from liquid, to combustion, to motion, to electric, to motion, to pezeo, to electric is just going to be burning diesel to generate electricity.

    yes, this is great for powering railroad systems without having to run grid power everywhere along their tracks, but it’s not generating new green power.

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