Cars are a huge source of air pollution, but in the future they could also become a source of clean energy.
That is thanks to a technology called LYBRA, a special, tyre-like rubber paving that converts the kinetic energy produced by moving vehicles into electric energy.
The idea and the project are the brainchild of an Italian start-up called Underground Power.
CEO Andrea Pirisi told us more: “What we propose is an innovative and smart system to recover and absorb energy from cars by slowing them down, increasing road safety and producing green energy by using energy that the car would disperse anyway through its brakes.”
The LYBRA system is designed to slow down cars wherever the speed limit requires it. The technology uses a car’s own energy to compensate for CO2 emissions. That is why Pirisi plans on installing his invention near roundabouts and pedestrian crossings, at motorway tollgates and exit ramps, and in shopping centre car parks.
But wear and tear tests must be carried out before the product can be commercialised. The device must withstand the weight of thousands of cars and trucks every day.
“Energy is collected from this surface and transferred to generators, which are set in motion and turn kinetic and mechanic energy into electric energy,” Pirisi explained. “A special conversion system turns the impulse energy into continuous energy.”
LYBRA’s creators say one bump located in a zone with heavy traffic, such as a supermarket car park or at motorway toll booths, could produce as much as 100,000 kWh per year, which is exactly the quantity of energy produced by 19 tonnes of oil. In the same period of time, an average family consumes approximately 2,700 kWh.