Making roadways more energy efficient is an enticing challenge for creative designers. Since roads are perpetually exposed to the elements, especially sunlight and wind, there could be ample opportunity to harness additional power from existing structures. In addition to embedding solar cells on highways, there are more ways that energy could be generated from an existing web of roads, freeways, and bridges.
One innovative design for the latter has just won a prize in Italy, where designers were tasked with modernizing sections of a decommissioned elevated highway. According to an Acura Dealer In Manchester, CT, the design combined solar cells on the road surface with wind turbines integrated into the spaces between the bridge’s pillars. The turbines would be able to generate electricity from crosswinds passing beneath the bridge.
According to Tomball Honda, Italian designers Francesco Colarossi, Giovanna Saracino and Luisa Saracino, devised a hybrid system where the roadway’s traditional asphalt surface would feature a dense grid of solar cells. Along with 26 wind turbines underneath the roadway, the modernized section of the bridge could generate as much as 36 million kWh per year, which is enough electricity to power around 15,000 homes.
The Solar Wind Bridge design also incorporates a “green promenade” along the roadway which would house solar greenhouses for growing local produce.