Capturing lost energy with regenerative braking systems is one thing. This, however, is another ball-game entirely. Researchers in Israel have been experimenting with power generators placed underneath the road's surface to capture the mechanical energy of cars passing above and turn it into electricity.

The research is being carried out by an Israeli start-up called Innowattech, in conjunction with the Israel National Roads Company and the Technion, Israel's technological institute in Haifa. Referred to as "parasitic energy harvesting", the technology involves small piezoelectric generators placed five centimeters below the asphalt's surface. The weight of the cars passing over the road's surface is captured – 2000 watts an hour in "regular" traffic conditions – and stored in roadside batteries. Drivers reportedly feel no difference in the road, although naturally the initiative is limited by the progress of battery technology (or hydraulics, with the Dragon Power system).

As Better Place discovered, Israel's geographic and economic situation makes it an ideal testing ground for green technologies. The first implementation was over a relatively small ten-meter stretch of road on Israel's main north-south highway, and is now being placed in one-kilometer sections for further study. Further applications are also being evaluated, including pedestrian walkways, airport runways and railroads. It's not just for Burger King any more. Thanks for the tip, Mono!

[Source: | Image: Uriel Sinai/Getty]

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