Energy Harvesting Assessment Using PZT Sensors and Roadway Materials

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



National Academy of Sciences

Source Publication

Proceedings of the Transportation Research Board 97th Annual Meeting


The primary objective of this project was to evaluate the technical feasibility of incorporating piezoelectric systems into roadways. The scope of the research project included investigation of the energy harvesting method, preparation of equipment and materials, durability tests of PZ materials and fabricating asphalt and concrete sections for structural and electrical testing. Structural and electrical characterization was completed by measuring the voltage generated in the sections, during a loaded wheel test (LWT), using an Asphalt Pavement Analyzer (APA.) Collected data and various plots developed using Matlab® revealed that deformation in asphalt was correlated to the produced electrical signal. The research results indicated that flexible roadway materials can produce more energy than rigid material such as typical concrete and Engineering Cementitious Concrete (ECC). Similarly, since typical concrete produced higher values than ECC, the magnitude of energy may be more related to strength and density than elasticity, especially in rigid material. Currently, the research team is developing a wafer box coupled with the pavement materials using a 3D printer on with CAD design. The results of this research project will contribute to the possibility of self-supporting energy- generating capacity for highways, for roadway sustainability.


Published as part of the Proceedings of the Transportation Research Board 97th Annual Meeting, January 2018. Publisher link.