A new technology system developed in Mexico now allows electricity to be generated through vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Invented by Mexican entrepreneur Héctor Ricardo Macías Hernández, the innovative electric energy system converts air pressure from moving traffic into sustainable electric energy.
The system utilizes a ramp-step that is elevated 5 centimeters above the level of the street. Made of a polymeric material, the ramp-step expels air when enough pressure is exerted by the force of a moving car or pedestrian. A set of bellows beneath the ramp-step expels the air into a hose and ultimately into a tank where the air is compressed and launched into an electricity generating turbine.
Electric energy is accumulated proportionally to the flow of cars over a determinate spot, although when vehicular traffic is low multiple ramp-steps could be used to multiply the impact of each vehicle. The system could also be utilized in areas with high foot traffic such as subways or shopping centers. The pressure exerted from people’s footsteps would generate electricity according to the laws of gravitational energy.
The technology may prove to be an effective method of generating electricity in developing countries. The system does not require a significant infrastructure investment nor does it require costly raw materials such as piezoelectric floors, used by a similar system in Europe. According to Macías Hernández, “This is a technology that provides sustainable energy and could be implemented at low prices, since it’s a complement of already existing infrastructure: the concrete of streets and avenues.”
With the exception of an English patent which utilizes piezoelectric floors, there are no other global applications of similar technology. Macías Hernández credits the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) with vetting the viability of the project by providing access to a previous study and also patent advice.