Environment

Are bridge-mounted wind turbines a viable option?

Are bridge-mounted wind turbin...
An artist's take on how wind turbines underneath bridges might look
An artist's take on how wind turbines underneath bridges might look
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An artist's take on how wind turbines underneath bridges might look
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An artist's take on how wind turbines underneath bridges might look

Wind turbines might be common sight all around the world, but situating them in open fields or on breezy ridges isn't always a practical option. Ideas like placing turbines under bridges have been proposed, but is that a viable alternative? According to new research out of Europe, the answer is yes.

The study is based in models and computer simulations, which were carried out by researcher Oscar Soto and his colleagues in Kingston University (London)

The researchers from Spain and the UK, used theJuncal Viaduct in the Canary Islands as a basis for computer simulations designed to establish whether the wind blowing between the pillars on bridges is sufficient tomove turbines and create energy.

The study showed that the best way to create power would be to use two different-sized turbines, or even to create a matrix of 24 small turbines because of their low weight and the amount of power that can be produced by each unit.

In terms of practicality, however, the study suggests that the best option would be to use two identical medium sized 0.25 MW turbines, which could theoretically generate enough energy to power 450-500 homes, as well as reduce CO2 emissions compared with fossil fuel sources.

"This kind of installation would avoid the emission of 140 tons of CO2 per year, an amount that represents the depuration effect of about 7,200 trees," said researcher Oscar Soto.

A paper outlining the findings has been published in the journal Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews.

Source: Sinc

15 comments
Milton
LOL at the giant sail they created in the rendering. Some civil engineer is smacking his head on a table right now.
Scion
No comment in this article about the increased sheer forces adding turbines would introduce? Bridges are built to withstand winds of a certain strength with their given side profile. If you add turbines would the bridge not be subject to considerably higher forces? I think it is a good idea but I doubt you could retrofit many bridges.
Daishi
We had a railroad bridge near here for years that stood the test of time until it was decided to restore it. Part of that process involved putting huge tarps on the side of the thing (to cover construction/work) that vastly increased the lateral wind forces it had to endure and it blew over. I'm sure the company doing the work denies responsibility but it stood for like 100 years to blow over (sideways) the week tarps were added. Bridges are generally pretty expensive objects. It's probably cheaper to just build stand alone windmills than to reinforce/design high bridges to endure these extra forces.
Kpar
And the coolest part is how the birds that get chopped up will simply fall into the river below and get washed away. No need to count endangered species- WIN,WIN!
Randolph Garrison
I would expect the solid panels to increase the wind loading on the bridge pylons. a gimbaled assembly with an open frame would probably do much better, and weigh less!
Pete0097
I don't think that 0.25 mw would power 400 homes. Maybe a small community of 10 or so. IF the bridge is designed for the windmills, structurally, it should work in theory. In my opinion, I have seen too many wind farms with turbines that are not turning due to not being properly aimed, or just due to no maintenance after the tax benefits end . What we should use are horizontal turbines that will be pushed by the wind no matter what direction it is blowing and that would work with the bridge system that has no way of changing what direction the turbines are aimed.
Bob Flint
If you are asking then no, the mixed frequency harmonics of just the traffic, and turbines is a bad combination. Already having to deal with the wind forces, and traffic loads is enough to result in many bridges failing, not to mention earthquakes, land slides, and many other unpredictable natural forces. It also concerns me that you have to ask.
Mirmillion
Way to much dangerous sheet-metal windage in this artist's conception. As well, any sideways forces (wind resistance) generated by the face of the blades and/or spinning of one or more wind turbines would have to be carefully calculated or catastrophic failure of the bridge supports could easily occur. On the bright side: many bridges span natural venturi-like ground formations so one would expect ample wind velocity when the wind is, in fact, blowing. Ideally, engineers would also allow for high wind speeds to be captured with lower amperage and faster turning micro-turbines.
esar
You'd have a more reliable power source if you put turbines in the rivers these bridges are spanning
joebloeIDAHO
Are bridge-mounted wind turbines a viable option? https://silberzahnjones.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/bad-engineering-disaster-tacoma-narrows-bridge-collapse.jpg