Piezoelectric energy harvesting from traffic-induced pavement vibrations

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, 2014, 6 (4)
Issue Date:
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This paper focuses on the development and experimental testing of a potential clean energy source for powering the remote equipment used in transportation infrastructure. Traditional power sources (i.e., power cables and batteries) are excessively expensive or infeasible in this type of application. A compression-based roadway energy harvester has been developed that can be embedded into pavement to scavenge electrical energy from traffic-induced vibrations. The proposed roadway harvester employs a group of piezoelectric harvesting units to convert traffic-induced vibrations into electrical energy, and each single harvesting unit contains three piezoelectric multilayer stacks. According to the linear theory of piezoelasticity, a two-degree-of-freedom electromechanical model of the piezoelectric harvesting unit was developed to characterize its performance in generating electrical energy under external excitations. Experimental testing in the laboratory was conducted to investigate the output power properties of the harvesting unit and shows good agreement with the theoretical analysis. Based on the testing results of the harvesting unit, the capability of the proposed roadway harvester has been theoretically evaluated and demonstrated that it has the ability to generate sufficient energy for driving common electrical equipment used in transportation infrastructure. © 2014 AIP Publishing LLC.
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