Liv's Life

Liv's blog on changemaking, travel, and faith in search of true beauty

  • Olivia R. Colombo

Green Highway Project Overview

Hello! I'm Olivia and I am a young aspiring scientist, inventor, artist, and change maker. For the past year, I have been working on an independent study project, entitled "The Green Highway Project." Technical details can be found in a link below, but in a nutshell this project proposes the use of highways and car motion as renewable energy. Roughly one year ago I traveled to Washington D.C. for the ProjectCSGIRLS National Gala, winning Third Place National Grand Prize and Top Individual Project. (Their website can be found here. List of winning projects here.) Coming off of this win, I decided to continue my project with the goal of making the technology an accepted, viable renewable energy option. Since then, I've begun the process of applying for a provisional patent, won an Honorable Mention in MIT THINK Scholars Program, and entered several other programs in hopes of gaining funds to build a working prototype.

I've started this blog as a logbook of my progress, and a way to share what I've done and what I plan to do. So what's next? Within the next month, I hope to build my first complete prototype as a demonstration for Earth Day speaking opportunities. In the process, I'll be making an updated 2016 project video. In the mean time, check out my Youtube channel and keep an eye out for the updated video!




Climate change is permanently altering our world, an effect stemming primarily from the burning of fossil fuels for human energy consumption. Renewable energy utilizes non-expendable resources for power rather than traditional nonrenewable methods to mitigate the effects of climate change. The development of renewable eco-friendly highway or roadway solutions is in progress, with a number of solutions harnessing kinetic energy from pedestrian commuter travel, but no single solution applicable to all forms of traffic has found widespread implementation. The Green Highway Project combines previously developed renewable energy sources, building on the concept of an "eco-friendly highway,” with the goal of generating a scalable working prototype of a highway that demonstrates a new method of harnessing renewable energy. This method takes advantage of the heat retention of roads and the motion of vehicular traffic to produce electrical energy by employing both thermocouple systems to capture heat energy absorbed from pavement and spring electromagnets to convert kinetic energy from passing vehicles. A programmatic interface provides real-time data on energy gathered and can be used as a tool to assess the efficiency of the process. A small-scale working prototype of each component of this technology earned Third Place National Grand Prize in the 2015 ProjectCSGIRLS competition. Since then, this project has been expanded to with the future goal of building a pedestrian-scale integrated prototype in advance of a full-scale working roadway as well as an accompanying curriculum that could be brought to grade K-12 to teach about climate change and the use of renewable energy. These two parts will expand the scope of this project to realize the goal of decreasing climate change both by developing a novel form of renewable energy and by inspiring others to embrace the goal of reducing our negative environmental impacts on the world.

Learn more project technical detail here.

Winning ProjectCSGIRLS 2015 Video:


Below find a list of links to a few of the sites that have published pieces of the Green Highway Project:

“18 Computer Science Projects That Prove Middle School Girls Are Smarter Than You”

MENAFN Article

Patriot Ledger Article

Wicked Local Article

Wicked Local: Town Meeting

SHHS Newsletter