Piezoelectric on the go – forward that is

December 14, 2008

Piezoelectricity is the ability of some materials (notably crystals and certain ceramics, including bone) to generate an electric potential in response to applied mechanical stress.

I have been talking about this before in April here with piezoelectric material and in July here when I was talking about a power generating dancefloor. There I suggested it would be a good idea to put it under streets to generate power.

image And it seems like the UK has been reading my post as well πŸ™‚ :
”An idea mentioned by the British Environmental Transport Association (ETA): a road filled with tiny piezoelectric crystals that would be smooshed with each vehicle running over it. Each smoosh generates a small electric charge, and the net effect is that just one kilometer of this piezoelectric roadway would generate 400 kilowatts, enough power up eight small cars, according to the Israeli researchers behind the plan.”

A test is scheduled for next month.

And the Japanese will be testing something similar.

East Japan Railway Company (JR East) will install piezoelectric elements in the floors at ticket gates and other areas of Tokyo Station to test a system that generates power using the energy created by passengers passing through the gates.

And now I come back to my point before and I really hope these tests will show that it is a brilliant idea. Maybe at some point we can use the energy generated to power the cars driving on them – good bye fuel!

Piezoelectric is an interesting concept and if you want to know more, you can find some great details here.


Never charge your phone again!

December 7, 2008

OK OK don’t get too excited yet because it’s still theoretical.

But Cagin (a professor in the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering at Texas A&M University) and his partners from the University of Houston have found that a certain type of piezoelectric material can covert energy at a 100 percent increase when manufactured at a very small size.

Cagin says: Even the disturbances in the form of sound waves such as pressure waves in gases, liquids and solids may be harvested for powering nano- and micro devices of the future if these materials are processed and manufactured appropriately for this purpose.

Which means that you could charge your phone while you are talking on it. Imagine a self-powering cell phone that never needs to be charged because it converts sound waves produced by the user into the energy it needs to keep running.