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LA's freeways could one day power your fridge: The science of piezoelectricity




Heavy traffic clogs the 101 Freeway as people leave work for the Labor Day holiday in Los Angeles on Aug. 29, 2014.
Heavy traffic clogs the 101 Freeway as people leave work for the Labor Day holiday in Los Angeles on Aug. 29, 2014.
Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

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No one loves a traffic jam, especially in Los Angeles. But pretty much everyone can agree that electricity is awesome and necessary for our modern world.

With encouragement from Assemblyman Mike Gatto, the California Energy Commission is providing funding for a small pilot project to test out technology that would harvest electricity from L.A.'s freeways. It's a process called piezoelectricity.

Phyllis Nelson, chair of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Cal Poly Pomona, joined the show to explain exactly what piezoelectricity is, and if it's a realistic option for the city.

To listen to the full interview, click on the blue audio player above.