Samer Dessouky, associate professor in UTSA The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, has been named a winner in the first ever American Society of Civil Engineering’s (ASCE) Innovation Contest. His project, Hybrid Energy Harvesting and Battery-less Wireless Sensing and Monitoring System for the Next Generation Smart Transportation Infrastructures, was named the Most Innovative award in the category of Green Engineering.
“The ASCE award is a great accomplishment to the team,” Dessouky said.”It is a motivation to our students and faculty at College of Engineering to incorporate green innovative technology to improve our aging infrastructure. The award will be a step towards directing our effort into technology-driven research with great impact to society.
The Innovation Contest is part of the ASCE Grand Challenge, a ten year effort to reduce the life cycle cost of infrastructure by 50 percent by 2025, foster the optimization of infrastructure investments for society, and improve the Nation’s infrastructure. The proposed technology used in Dessouky’s project responds to the urgent call for seeking energy resources and building sustainable roadways infrastructures.
“Roadways play an important role in connecting communities via commerce and moving people,” he said. “Financial resources to build and maintain these infrastructures come, for the most part, from fuel taxes. However, with increasing numbers of lane-miles added to support the expansion of the population away from cities, and as vehicles become more fuel efficient, funding for maintenance is becoming scarce and our roadways will, inevitably, continue to deteriorate.”
According to Dessouky, millions of roadway lane miles are subjected to a stream of stresses and strains under solar heat and traffic loading conditions making them great candidates for thermal and mechanical energy harvesting. He says that this wasted energy can be harnessed in the form of electric power.
“This proposed green technology is a hybrid energy harvesting and sensing system for roadways,” Dessouky said. “The system is built using piezoelectric and magnetostrictive materials and is placed under the asphalt layer during regularly scheduled repaving.”
The system is capable of producing new and continuous low-cost energy resources and is instrumented with battery-less wireless sensors for monitoring roadway conditions and collecting traffic data. There are numerous benefits to the systems including generating revenues for integrating the generated power can be used for maintenance funds and to offset the reduced revenues from fuel taxes; continuous monitoring of roadways that will save transportation agencies in associated cost for pavement and bridge diagnostics; and real-time traffic information can be collected and fed into a traffic management system and eventually into connected vehicles.
Dessouky’s team of collaborators on this project include Hossein Roshani, George Nall, Mayur Pole, Arturo Montoya, Shuza Binzaid, Ruyan Guo, and A.T. Papagiannakis from The University of Texas at San Antonio, Lubinda Walubita from Texas A&M Transportation Institute, and Jerome Helffrich from Southwest Research Institute.