Wind turbine harvests power from high-speed traffic
Air pressure caused by cars could generate power for street lamps and the grid.
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.