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Energy Harvesting from Road Traffic


Ultra-High Power Density Roadway Piezoelectric Energy Harvesting System

Targeted Traffic:


Small vehicles

Concept Design of Piezoelectric Road Generators:

The piezoelectric harvesting system is designed to collect the piezoelectric energy due to the vehicle gravity, and due to the friction between the road surface and the tire. The system consists of multi-layer piezoelectric stacks integrated with power electronics.

Project Goals:

Demonstrate the ultra-high capacity of electric power generation in the laboratory and in the field Study the feasibility to implement a large-scale demonstration on highways and streets with piezoelectric under-pavement.

Estimation of Power, Cost and Lifetime [1]

  • Electrical power density of 333 W/Sq ft
  • Cost estimate $9,010/kW
  • Lifetime up to 20 years
  • 600 vehicles/hour passing each lane
  • The average weight (vehicle plus load) of a five-axle vehicle is 33,000lbs. The average force in the vertical direction on each tire is 3,300lbs (=14,890 N)
  • Speed of a vehicle is 60 mph =26.8 m/s=88/feet/s
  • The power is estimated-based on the road deformation ≤ 2 mm.


Contractor: Jian-Qiao Sun, UC Merced
Phone: 209-228-4540


Co-PI: Atousa, CSU Sacramento
Phone: 209-228-4540


Project Manager: Prab Sethi
Phone: 916-327-1302


Co-PI: Tian-Bing Xu, NIA
Phone: 757-864-2072

External Links:

Link to San Francisco Chronicle article 

Link to IEEE Spectrum article

Link to Future Structure article


[1] Hill, Davion, Nellie Tong, (DNV KEMA). 2013. Assessment of Piezoelectric Materials for Roadway Energy Harvesting. California Energy Commission. Publication Number: CEC‐500‐2013‐007.