NEXT-road is a device to implement in the road pavement surface that is able to harvest kinetic energy from vehicles and convert it into electricity. During this energy harvesting process, it allows reducing the vehicles’ speed automatically, without affecting the ride comfort. The electric energy produced is stored outside the pavement, and it can be used in multiple electric applications on the place, or to be injected into the grid. Also, NEXT-road monitors traffic activity, including the number of vehicles, their weight and speed.
The NEXT-road products have a surface (upper layer) made of rubber from recycled tires that has a linear motion over the vertical axis, when vehicles move across it. Due to its specific design, this motion does not affect ride comfort, by do not inducing any impact over the vehicle. Then, this surface motion delivers mechanical energy to the energy conversion system, which transforms it into electric energy. During this process, the system monitors the produced energy, weight and speed of the vehicle, and send both energy and data to the power box, outside of the pavement.
The installation method was designed to be simple and fast. We remove the upper layer of the existing pavement, prepare the base of the pavement and implement the NEXT-road device there, becoming the new upper layer of the pavement. We install a power box outside the pavement that is connected to the NEXT-road devices, receiving and storing the produced energy and data.
In a 20-meter length application, the speed of a light vehicle is reduced by 40%, without considering any driver deceleration or breaking action. This means that a vehicle that is moving at 50 km/h is slow-down to 30 km/h when moving over the 20-meter length application of NEXT-road, automatically, without depending on drivers’ actions.
The product NEXT-road was designed and tested to guarantee that it did not induce impact on vehicles (contrary to speed bumps), so that it does not affect the ride quality of drivers and vehicle occupants.
In the same way, it does not generate noise pollution, so that people who live near-by the application do not suffer from noise pollution every time a vehicles passes by.
Each light vehicle is able to produce up to 10 Wh when moving across the 20-meter length application of NEXT-road, depending on their speed. This means than a place with just 1.000 vehicles per day can produce 10 kWh per day, 3.65 MWh per year.
With the produced and stored energy, we can fully supply electric devices in the place (road safety applications, traffic light signs, speed cameras, among others), including to power road and crosswalk illumination.
The produced energy can also be used to power electric mobility, or to be injected into the grid.
We consider our current stage of development to be TRL 6, since we have a fully functional system, with a surface, mechanical components and electricity production systems demonstrated in relevant/operational environment.
The next steps of development will focus mainly on the operational environment demonstration (TRL 7), confirming the component design and material selection, integrating energy production with the local network or applications and the data collection and monitoring platform.