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.