Recent Developments in the Energy Harvesting Systems from Road Infrastructures

by Niloufar Zabihi * and Mohamed Saafi


The rapid increase in energy demand has resulted in more dependence on fossil fuels, which leads to higher CO2 emissions every year. To overcome this problem, shifting from fossil fuel-based energy resources to renewable and sustainable ones is essential. One of the new research areas developed in this context is the harvesting of energy from urban infrastructures and, in particular, roads. A large amount of energy in the form of heat or kinetic energy is wasted annually on roads. Recovering these local forms of energy as electricity would improve the energy efficiency of cities. In this review paper, recent developments in the field of energy recovery from roads using solar panels, piezoelectric, thermoelectric and electromagnetic harvesters are discussed along with their efficiency, cost and field implementation. Moreover, new advancements in developing compatible energy storage systems are also discussed and summarised. Based on the review, although all of these systems have the potential of recovering at least a part of the wasted energy, only one of them (the electromagnetic converters) is capable of generating a considerable energy level. In addition, based on the evaluation of the maturity of the technologies, and their cost analyses, more studies are required in order to fill the gap between the current state of the technologies and their full operational form. Keywords: energy; harvesting; power; piezoelectric; thermoelectric; photovoltaic; electromagnetic; storage Full paper