Generation Electricity Through Road Surfaces

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Introduction

Electricity may be defined as the movement of an electric power charge through a given medium. One of the effects associated with electricity is lightning. Electricity occurs due to several factors. One of the factors is an electromagnetic charge. If a component is electromagnetically charged, then electromagnetic fields are generated. Electronic current is the movement of charged particles. Manufacturing plants have machinery that uses electric motors which propel those machines.

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Conventional electricity generation methods

Hydro-generated electricity

Traditionally, the main source of electricity was hydropower systems. Today, most countries especially in Africa still rely on hydro-generated electricity. One of the key methods of generating electricity through the use of hydroelectric systems is through water dams. The water from the dams is then released to drive the turbines hence generating electricity. The volume of water and the distance between the water source and the outflow determines the amount of electricity to be generated through the hydroelectric system (Cardno, 2008). Another method of generating hydroelectric power is through the use of pumped storage. To generate electricity, water is pumped from the higher reservoir to a lower reservoir through a turbine. In case excess electricity is generated, it is then used to pump the water back to the higher reservoir and the cycle continues. Rivers with waterfalls are ideal for this method of generation of electricity. Water turbines are placed on the waterfall and the energy from the water is used to drive the turbines hence generating electricity. The use of fossil fuels is another major source of electricity.

Geothermal electricity generation

Over the years, geothermal energy has been widely used for the generation of electricity. Over 24 countries have employed the generation of electricity through geothermal. This involves the use of hot springs for the generation of power. Hot water from deep down the earth is pulled at very high pressure. It is then directed into low-pressure tanks. The streams produced as a result of converting high pressure into low pressure are used to drive the turbines to eventually generate electricity.

Wind electricity generation

Wind energy can also be used to generate electricity. In this method, several wind turbines are engaged for the purpose of trapping wind with a view to generating energy. The kind of turbine used for trapping wind for the purpose of production of electricity is called a wind farm. Wind energy can be used to run an electric motor in a windmill as well as running an electric water pump. Windmill energy is not widely used in various parts of the world and hence it is not very popular as opposed to the electric generator.

Solar electricity generation

Solar energy has gained a lot of popularity as a generator of electricity. It is now a widely accepted source of electricity. Solar panels are used to harvest solar energy from solar rays. Solar panels can be implanted almost everywhere including on rooftops in buildings and on the earth’s surface. In recent times, environmentalists have been doing a lot of public awareness projects to enlighten people on the importance of using solar panels. This is because the environmentalists consider the solar panel as a producer of green energy. It is worth noting that the demand for electricity in most countries is on the rise due to the increase in population.

Road surface electricity generation methods

Piezo Electric Roads

This method of generating power through moving vehicles on road surfaces. It is only applicable where roads are very busy, with both heavy and light vehicles traveling at minimum speeds of over 80 Kilometers per hour. A Piezo electricity material which is normally at the surface of the road is used to capture the vibrations of the vehicles and mechanical energy is then generated from the moving vehicles. A Piezo electricity material can also collect energy from the temperature changes on the roadway. When a vehicle moves over the roadway, the temperature on the surface of the road goes up. Heavier vehicles and fast-moving vehicles are ideal for generating more electricity in a Piezo roadway. The energy collected is then converted into electricity.

Roadway Powered Electric Vehicles

On the road surface, there are various forms of energy that can be used to provide power to a vehicle. They include vibrations and the mechanical energy generated by the moving vehicle. With an electric motor found in an electric-powered vehicle, the energy collected is converted into electricity. The roadway-powered electrical vehicle was first developed in the United States of America. The roadway-powered electric vehicle is currently modified to include an onboard meter. This works more or less like a fuel gauge in normal vehicles and it contains an automated garage. The roadway-powered electronic vehicle also includes a positioning system. This is ideal for determining the location where the vehicle is. The second method of the roadway-powered electronic vehicle is done using the “wire transfer” technique. This is mainly employed in trolleybuses. It comprises twin copper wires. To power the roadway-powered vehicle, a cable is used to connect the overhead copper wires directly to the vehicle. The third method of transferring the electric energy from the source to the vehicle is by the use of a ground-level power supply. This method works the same way as the wire transfer but differs slightly in that the power source and the power supply are underneath the roadway.

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Solar roadway

A solar roadway will generate electric power for solar energy. Solar panels are used for harvesting solar energy. With the use of photovoltaic found in a solar panel, the solar energy is converted into electricity and stored in the solar cells. Apart from the initial cost of purchasing the lamps, the other charges that were incurred included those of maintenance and refueling like it happens in kerosene lanterns. With the implementation of solar roadways, pollution to the environment is avoided since it does not generate greenhouse gases. On the other hand, charging is a continuous process. One solar panel cost close to $8,000. This is unaffordable to developing countries (Burton & Pitt, 2001).

The solar road bike path

This project was started in the Netherlands. It consists of a cycle path with solar panels along the path and silicon solar cells for the storage of solar energy. It produces about 50 kW of electricity. It can be used to power street lights, traffic lights and households. Countries like Holland have embraced solar road technology.

The solar road bike path

The concept of road ribs

In this type of road, magnetic stripes are put on the road surface to absorb the energy wasted while a car is traveling on the road. Research shows that 70% of motor vehicle energy is wasted on the road as vehicles are traveling. The magnetic strip which is usually coated with rubber to prevent the magnetic influx collects the wasted energy and stores it in a roadside battery.

E-Turbines on the highways

Several turbines are installed along the major highways. As vehicles move along the highway, they create some relative amount of wind. The e-turbines can also be able to harvest natural wind. This wind is harvested by the e-turbines and converted to electric energy. The electric energy is stored in roadside batteries where it can be used for other uses.

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E-Turbines on the highways

Renewable energy road bridges

The road bridges are usually raised high above the earth’s surface. This means that they are quite exposed to sunlight. With the installation of solar panels on the bridge’s surface, a lot of solar energy is harvested. Since bridges are normally raised up, they are also exposed to wind. With the installation of wind turbines, a substantial amount of wind can be harvested. Such projects have been installed in Italy, the first project being the brainchild of an Italian engineer, Luisa Surcino.

Advantages of road surface electricity generation

With the demand for electricity rising every day, road surface electricity generation provides additional power to supplement the demand. Most of the road surfaces’ electricity generation is renewable and has no adverse effects on the environment (Koerner, 2012). The methods used to generate electricity through road surfaces only require the initial capital. Maintenance cost is also low.

Disadvantages of road surface electricity

Most of the innovations on road surface electricity are at their infancy stages. This means enough research has not been carried out on them. Most of the limitations associated with them are yet to be discovered.

Recommendations

Road electricity produces one of the cleanest sources of energy apart from the wind and solar energy. The road surfaces are sometimes made rough in that they generate more friction than energy. Most of the road surfaces are usually black as they are made from tar. This kind of material stores a lot of heat and the same can be harnessed by some inductors underneath the road surfaces to harness the power that can be stored in a kinetic form and transferred into a transformer for either domestic or industrial use (John, 1994). In dry and hot areas, roads that bypass these areas can be improvised with solar power screens that are resistant to breakages from the weight of the vehicles moving on these roads.

Conclusion

Though electricity generated from road surfaces can be one of the most reliable sources of energy, its sustainability is still a debate in many parts of the world. If well-proven and adopted, road surfaces’ generated electricity will emerge as the new frontier in energy production (Berkson, 1974). It is evident that the road surface theory for producing energy is further compromised by the fact that airplanes that do not fly on road surfaces produce their own energy. This is actually factual as we already have the first solar-powered plane and the main airplane manufacturer already has several orders for deliveries by the year 2030 from several major airlines across the globe (Morris, 2003).

Progress report

Introduction

The objective of this report is to analyse the use of road surface electricity generation. Electricity is the main source of power for both domestic and industrial uses. It is also used for lighting purposes, especially in households. Electricity is generally used for refrigeration more so in large industries for conservation especially in companies that process perishable foods. Manufacturing plants also deal with heavy machinery that produces a lot of heat. Electricity is therefore used in such companies for air conditioning. It emerges that the telecommunication industry is a major consumer of electricity. Facilities such as electrical telegraphs use electricity for communication purposes. Satellite communication cannot operate effectively without the use of electricity. Emerging technologies in communication like the use of optical fibre for data, audio and video communication may not take effect without the use of electricity. A. Conventional Electricity generation methods

  1. Hydro-electricity generation method
    1. Geothermal electricity generation method
    2. Wind Energy electricity method
    3. Solar electricity method
  2. Challenges encountered by conventional power generation
    1. Environmental effects
    2. High demand for electricity in industrial and commercial sectors
  3. Possible solutions -Road surface electricity generation
    1. Piezo Electric roads
    2. Roadway-powered electric vehicles
    3. E-Turbine on the highways
    4. Solar roadways
    5. The solar road bike path
    6. The concept of ribs
    7. Renewable energy road bridges

Problems and Solutions Encountered

The library survey took a lot of time since most of the references had inadequate and unreliable information. This called for an intensive electronic search for the library materials. The search was hectic as it took different dimensions such as the use of different keywords to get the right sources. I narrowed down my search to the ultimate use of the references from authors with diverse knowledge in energy generation. I had tried to arrange for interviews with 2 electrical engineers. One of them was a senior government staff in the ministry of energy and the other was a senior university lecturer who specialized in electrical engineering. None of the interviews was successful. and they had to be postponed to later dates which I hoped would materialize but they did not.

Work to Be Completed

I need to read the fifth reference material and take notes. I will then do its source evaluation. I also need to follow up on the issue of interviews to ensure they are as scheduled at the right time and places. In case are not no other changes to the interview schedules, I need to make changes to my work plan schedules. Currently, my work outline is a two-level one. I will thoroughly look into the possibilities of making it a three-level outline. All these activities must be accomplished before I write my first draft. The following is my intended work schedule.

Research Activities

Thursday, 18 October: Take notes on source 5 and write its source evaluation.

Saturday, 20 October: Review the corrected progress report.

Monday, 5 November: Interview with Engineer Cosbey, senior official, Ministry of Energy. Draft the transcript for the interview.

Tuesday 6 November: Interview with Engineer Rodwall, a university lecturer. Write the transcript for the interview.

5 Nov. – 8 November: Read and take notes on sources 5 and 6. Refine my outline. Submit the final third level outline on 5 November.

Sunday, 9 October: Compile the materials for the first draft, the notes and source evaluations.

Drafts

Monday, 9 November: Start the first draft.

Wednesday, 17 November: Finish working on the first draft.

Revising and editing

18 Nov. – 5 December: Finish the revision and editing. Finalize preparations for the typed document.

Submission of report

Tuesday, 6 December: Submit the hard copy of the report (sources, notes, outlines, drafts).

Tuesday, 6 December: Submit the soft copy and upload it.

Conclusion

The progress needs proper evaluation and monitoring. A thorough monitoring schedule remains to be one of the most challenging tasks for me in my endeavor to see that I get the right outcomes out of road surfaces electricity generation project. I need to use sources that give accurate and reliable information. Source evaluation is also important as I need to use the right format in getting the right details from the sources. Time management is crucial in that I need to keep up with the specific time schedules as outlined in my itinerary. The draft that I will use for the interview needs to capture all that is required otherwise I may not get the right information to enable me to progress effectively with my project and work. Tackling serious financial challenges can also be hectic as I need to know how much money I need to raise in order to effectively complete collecting all the data about road surfaces electricity generation. This topic is very challenging as some of the technologies used in the generation of road surfaces electricity are very rare like the Piezo roads.

Source Evaluation

Berkson, W. (1974). Fields of Force: The Development of a World View from Faraday to Einstein.USA: Routledge.

Berkson’s work is based on the need to establish an in-depth understanding of the various aspects of energy. The author focuses on establishing different developments in the electricity sector. The author has successfully elaborated key issues that relate to the topic thus making this reference material to be more relevant to this project. Some of the vital issues that emanate from Berkson’s work are that the cumulative effects of the increase in populations in most countries in the world have subsequently led to the demand for alternative sources of generation of electricity to fulfill the demand for it. Industrial growth has also led to the increased demand for electricity as industries and commercial organizations resort to the use of electricity as their main source of energy. This means that more electricity is needed than it can be supplied. With the advent of rural electrification programs especially in the developing countries, there is a lot of demand for electricity in most households. With the challenges encountered by the production of electricity through traditional means, new inventions are being explored day by day to provide alternative means to the challenges posed by the existing methods of power production. The purpose of Berkson’s work is to put into perspective the use of road surfaces to generate electricity.

Burton, G., & Pitt, R. (2001). Stormwater Effects Handbook: A Toolbox for Watershed Managers, Scientists, and Engineers. New York, USA: CRC/Lewis Publishers.

The overall issues of energy management and use of electricity are very sensitive, Burton and Pitt are two authors who have dwelt at a great length on the most efficient and cost effective way of managing electricity and other related concerns. With their background in road surface generated electricity, the authors give much preference to the managerial aspects of energy albeit from engineers’ perspectives. The book is an appropriate kit for managers who intend to enhance sobriety and dynamism in the energy sector. Sadly, this reference material does not dwell a lot on the specific aspects of the management of conventional electricity generation methods. Nonetheless, its relevance is evident in the manner in which Burton and Pitt critically examine energy issues.

Cardno, C. (2008). Infrastructure: New Report Examines the Potential of Public-Private Partnerships for Transportation Infrastructure.USA: Cengage Learning.

Energy generation and infrastructure development are closely related issues. According to Cardno, partnership between the private and public sectors is of utmost importance for the sustainability of various energy generating mechanisms including energy generation on road surfaces. Cardno also emphasizes on the concept of global warming which has increasingly become a major issue of concern in the modern world. The suitability of author and the contents of this reference material are based on the fact that the author has successfully and aggressively campaigned for the reduction and minimization of the production of greenhouse gases. The expertise and experience of the author in fossil fuels also reinforce the suitability of this reference material with reference to the project.

John. N. W. (1994). World’s Oldest Paved Road Found in Egypt. USA: John Wiley & Sons.

John, the author of the “World’s Oldest Paved Road Found in Egypt” is a renowned researcher in various issues on how roads generate energy. With his vast experience on how old roads in Egypt generate energy, John emerges as a serious author on energy generation. The archeologist, John, vividly explains the fact that fossil fuels need to be transported to the electricity generating station for the sake of using them to generate electricity. Like Egypt, John argues that some countries do not have fossil fuels as part of their natural resources yet electricity generation on roads has never been a major challenge. This means that the said countries have to import the fossil fuels from other countries which may take time and which can also be an expensive undertaking. Many countries do not have hot springs making it impossible for them to use geothermal electricity. With the concept of global warming becoming a major concern today all over the world, environmentalists are aggressively campaigning for the reduction and minimization of the production of greenhouse gases. Fossil fuels are not degradable and are therefore referred to as non renewable sources of electricity. The time taken to form fossil fuels under the earth’s surface is much more compared to the time taken to consume them. When fossil fuels are burned, they are said to produce carbon dioxide. The latter is one of the gases listed as a green house gas and is said to contribute significantly to global warming. That explains why petroleum is associated with heavy pollution of the environment. It is also very expensive for a country to produce power by use of petroleum energy.

Koerner, R. M. (2012). Designing with geo-synthetics, 6th Edition, Xlibris Corporation. USA: John Wiley & Sons.

Koerner’s work on designation with geo-synthetics is a sure testimony that the author has a lot of interest in the energy sector. He articulates the fact that the ever increasing demand for electricity should be addressed in a timely manner. Most of the road surfaces’ electricity generation are renewable and have no adverse effects to the environment. The author of the “Designing with geo-synthetics” gives facts and evidence that proves that indeed the creation of integrated transistors commonly known as IC technology have changed the electronic world giving rise to modern calculators, computers, televisions and radios. All this electronic items use electricity. It is through him that it emerges that the cumulative effect of the increase in populations in most countries in the world has subsequently led to the demand for alternative sources of generation of electricity to fulfill the demand for it. This issue makes this source to be very relevant, timely and appropriate for use in this project.

Morris, S. C. (2003). Life’s Solution: Inevitable Humans in a Lonely Universe. Cambridge. UK: Cambridge University Press.

The article discusses vital life solutions to the ever increasing shortage of energy across the globe. It outlines possible efficient, environmentally friendly and cost effective alternatives to the ever increasing human reliance of non renewable sources of energy. The outstanding issue with this article is that it addresses both the dangers and the unexploited opportunities in the energy sector. One of the sections of the article explains that during the production of electricity through geothermal, water pulled from below the earth’s surface may contain several gases like carbon dioxide, ammonia and hydrogen sulfide.

Morris, S. C. (2003). Life’s Solution: Inevitable Humans in a Lonely Universe. Cambridge. UK: Cambridge University Press.

With the challenges encountered by the production of electricity through traditional means, new inventions are being explored day by day to provide alternative means to the challenges posed by the existing methods of power production. The purpose of this Morris’s book is to put into focus the use of road surfaces to generate electrical power. Some scholars have referred to this type of electricity as “Electricity beneath our feet”. Electric motors generate mechanical energy. They can be powered from direct power connections or from stored power like in the case of batteries. Electric motors are widely used in industrial fans which provide cooling mechanisms to machines. Pumps and blowers also use electricity to propel them. The book explores how the invention of transistors raised the demand of electricity higher especially in electronic gadgets.

The creation of integrated transistors commonly known as IC technology has changed the electronic world giving rise to modern calculators, computers, televisions and radios. All this electronic items use electricity. The cumulative effect of the increase in populations in most countries in the world has subsequently led to the demand for alternative sources of generation of electricity to fulfil the demand for it. Industrial growth has also led to the increased demand for electricity as industries and commercial organizations resort to the use of electricity as their main source of energy. This means that more electricity is needed than it can be supplied. Fossil fuels require to be transported to the electricity generating station for the sake of using them to generate electricity. Some countries do not have fossil fuels as part of their natural resources. This means that the said countries have to import the fossil fuels from other countries which may take time and which can also be an expensive undertaking. Many countries do not have hot springs making it impossible for them to use geothermal electricity.

During the production of electricity through geothermal, water pulled from below the earth’s surface may contain several gases like carbon dioxide, ammonia and hydrogen sulphide. These gases are hazardous to the environment such that apart from their forming part of green house gases, they also contribute to the creation of acidic rains which are harmful to the environment. Wind mills on the other hand may not be very efficient especially in areas that are not windy. Only 24 countries in the world employ production of geothermal electricity. This is a very small fraction of the entire world. There are not many factories that manufacture solar panels. Experts needed for effectively addressing the intricacies of the solar panel are very few. Though solar electricity is becoming very popular, a significant number of people have never used it or even seen it practically working. Conclusion The overall evaluation of the sources can be said to achieve the desired results in terms of the invaluable and relevant information that they give to this study. Generation of electricity through road surfaces is not only an alternative source of energy production but also a cost effective one in a world that is faced by possible depletion of the traditional sources of energy creation. More research should be made in this area to give studies in this domain a higher impetus as the challenge of lack of bigger variety of resources cannot be ignored.

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