Science Illustrated

Wind turbine harvests power from high-speed traffic

Air pressure caused by cars could generate power for street lamps and the grid.

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Cyclists know all too well the force of air pressure which can be delivered by a vehicle overtaking at speed. Now a UK company, Alpha 311, is suggesting that this air pressure is a potential source of power, and aims to use existing motorway infrastruc­ture to generate and carry green energy. The company wants to install cylindrica­l wind turbines on lamp posts, so that the air pressure from passing cars will power the turbines and charge a battery that can then power street lights. Turbines located at the centre of the road will be particular­ly efficient, it is suggested, because they will be activated from both sides.

Tests of a turbine prototype show that it can generate up to 70kWh a day, equivalent to 21m2 of solar panels (sufficient to supply 10 homes with energy). The company estimates that the final version of the traffic turbine will cost around A$3500.

Cables currently supplying power to street lights could be repurposed to give surplus energy from turbines to the electricit­y grid as green energy for other purposes. The company is in discussion with authoritie­s in the UK and US to field-test the idea.

 ??  ?? Cylindrica­l turbines on lamp posts could be powered by air pressure from passing cars. A turbine prototype generates 70kWh from a day’s traffic.
Cylindrica­l turbines on lamp posts could be powered by air pressure from passing cars. A turbine prototype generates 70kWh from a day’s traffic.

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