It sometimes seems as if wind energy innovation is happening on an almost daily basis. However, where in some fields innovations may take on drastically different forms, there are only so many ways to change the way a turbine works. Still, many wind energy based companies are trying to find the best way to maximize wind’s potential. A concept that has garnered some attention over the last couple of years is one that seeks to blend the concept of wind energy with the highway infrastructure.
Called the E Turbines, the idea is that a series of small circular turbines would be placed along the median of a highway that would use the wind created by passing cars to generate electricity from the wind energy. The electricity generated could then be used to power highway and street lights, information and warning signs, or even emergency phones set up along the road. The idea was created by an industrial designer named Pedro Gomes, who has submitted the idea to several design contests over the years.
According to Pedro, the E Turbines can generate electricity both from the movement of passing vehicles but also from outside wind sources meaning that it can utilize any wind energy source. This makes the E Turbines ideal for remote areas that would otherwise require the implementation of a brand new power structure. As new highways are built throughout the world, the E-Turbine could be implemented as the primary means of powering the necessary systems that go along with the extension of a highway. The designer also believes that the implementation of the E Turbines along the median would create a visible barrier between the opposite lanes of the highway which would, in turn, create a safer environment while driving along the endless stretches of road.
The primary way the E Turbines store the power gathered from wind energy is a series of battery banks that are installed within each turbine system. The battery banks are comprised of multiple smaller batteries that can be individually removed in the event of a battery failure making maintenance easier. Once the power is stored within the battery bank, it is sent along to a main battery that then distributes the power to the systems currently requiring electricity.
Currently, the E Turbine remains a concept without any immediate plans to begin implementing them despite getting attention by becoming a finalist in several competitions. However, the concept itself is still interesting and could have potential for a country looking to greatly expand their highway systems while catering to a renewable energy mindset.
Article by Richard Cooke, appearing Justmeans.