California has almost 400-thousand miles of roads and a ton of truck traffic – that together, may soon become a source of renewable energy. When a truck rumbles down the road, it sends out powerful vibrations – and the state is set to test something called “piezoelectric technology,” that can convert that pressure into electricity. The California Energy Commission has been studying this idea for five years now, and just announced it’s spending seven-million dollars on a pilot project on Golden State roads. Assemblyman Mike Gatto, a booster of the idea, says tiny sensors are embedded in the pavement that work like sonar, but in reverse.
click to listen to Assemblyman Mike Gatto
He explains the sensors have small wires that connect to a battery on the side of the road that then can generate power for streetlights, or even a nearby factory. The sensors were first invented by an Israeli company and already are in use there, as well as in Japan and Italy. The Energy Commission now is soliciting companies to apply for a grant to conduct the pilot program.