Wind turbines on bridges could be the next big thing in renewable energy

Wind turbines could be installed under some of the biggest bridges on the road network to produce electricity, according to a study based in models and computer simulations carried out by researcher Oscar Soto and colleagues at Kingston University, in London.

They used the Juncal viaduct in the Canary Islands as a reference but say the concept could be applied in heavily built-up territories or natural areas with limits on new construction.

The researchers established that the wind blowing between the pillars on this kind of infrastructures can move wind turbines and produce energy.

In the Juncal Viaduct case, the evaluated power would be about 0.25 MW per wind turbine. So, with two turbines, the total power output would be 0.5 MW, which is classified in the medium-power range.

“This would be the equivalent to 450-500 homes average consumption,” says Soto, who adds: “This kind of installation would avoid the emission of 140 tons of CO2 per year, an amount that represents the depuration effect of about 7,200 trees.”

Bill Condie

Bill Condie

Bill Condie is a science journalist based in Adelaide, Australia.

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