Bridges could be equipped with wind turbines

Wind turbines could be installed under some of the biggest bridges on the road network to produce electricity, according to calculations carried out by a European research team. The team has used the Juncal Viaduct in the Canary Islands as a reference to verify that wind passing between the pillars could move wind turbine blades to produce energy.

The study is based in models and computer simulations, which were carried out by researcher Oscar Soto and his colleagues at Kingston University, who originally designed the turbines to be porous discs rather than a traditional blade design. "The more surface area the rotor has, the more power can be produced; however, it was seen that the power rate per square meter is higher in small turbines", Soto explained.

Soto says the best solution would be the installation of two wind turbines of different sizes or even an array of small turbines. However, the most viable option would be to install two medium sized wind turbines.

Results evaluated that the power produced by the Juncal Viaduct would be around 0.25MW per wind turbine. So, with two turbines, the total power output would be 0.5MW, which is classified in the medium-power range which, Soto says, would be enough to power 450 to 500 homes.