We have been paying attention to the development of piezoelectric materials for electrical generation for quite a while. Using passing vehicles or even pedestrian motion and creating electricity is an idea that is being explored on a number of fronts.
And now, the first practical installation of this kind is in place at a supermarket in Gloucester, England, where "kinetic road plates" are being used to produce 30 kW/hrs of electricity per year (previously we reported this as 30 kW per hour, using the stat from the press release, but universal agreement is that is both impossible and nonsensical). The company's press release describes the process as a more physical process (plates are pushed down by passing cars to create rocking motions that turn generators) than a piezoelectrical one, but the broader concept of using transient motion to generate electricity is the same.
Of course, the store gets a much greater green energy benefit from customers who drive to the store, rather than those who walk or bike. The kinetic plates are only one of a number of sustainable building features of the new store. The building also has other features including utilization of natural light, rainwater harvesting, solar hot water, and a 50% reduction in electricity use compared to similar sized stores built before 2006.
written by Fred, June 23, 2009
written by autostry, July 18, 2009
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