Could a Traffic Jam be Powering our Toasters?

From smart phones and smart watches to smart cars and smart toothbrushes, the generation of ‘smart’ products is well and truly upon us. Now, is the next big trend ‘smart roads’?

taxi-238478_960_720To explain further, new Texas-based research is attempting to create sensors that could generate clean energy from traffic on Texas roads. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has granted The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) a $1.32 million contract to undertake the study. The research comes as Obama has confirmed the Clean Energy Plan, which seeks to cut carbon-emissions and expedite the use of clean energy.

While the smart roads might not quite be powering our toasters specifically, but rather, roadside lights, traffic signals, billboards and other similar sources of electricity. The research seeks to build a system to produce energy caused by the driving of vehicles along the state’s roadways and convert it into inexpensive renewable electric power.

Specifically, the research team will create piezoelectric sensors which will be positioned beneath asphalt layers. Piezoelectric materials are particularly alluring as they create power without releasing greenhouse gasses and take up no additional space as they are built into the layers of the roads. Ultimately, if successful, the research will create a sustainable foundation of revenue for transportation infrastructure through the formation of clean power.

Certainly, as revealed in this article, research can definitely be used to develop innovative ‘smart’ solutions that positively influence the way energy is conducted. Moreover, if you have led research in your company then you could be eligible the government’s Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit. Although, you do not have to be fashioning smart roads or ‘white lab coat’ work to qualify – rather, the credit is purposely broad to encourage businesses in the U.S. to undertake research activities. In addition, the credit is offered at both a state and federal level in Texas, and companies can claim each one concurrently. Contact Texas Tax Credit today to find out if your research could qualify for tax benefits.