California's Future Electric Highways?

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California may begin trials into energy-generating highways. (Stock Photo)

A bill to conduct research into “piezoelectric generation,” which would turn California’s notoriously busy highways into electricity generators, was approved by the Assembly Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday.

Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, introduced the bill and asserts that building transducers into highway beds could produce as much as 44 megawatts per year per six-tenths of a mile. That’s enough energy to power more than 30,000 homes annually.

Sensors built into the roadways would convert the vibratory energy from passing cars and trucks into electricity, which could be used in nearby neighborhoods or for lights along the roadway.

The bill still has to pass a few more reviews to even make it to the floor for a vote. If passed, Caltrans would have pilot program results as soon as 2013.

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