Today we are relying on technology for renewable energy sources and one of the latest is viaducts with wind turbines build underneath them. The turbines could be installed on the largest bridges and these would provide us with electricity. Researchers in Europe took a viaduct in the Canary Islands and used this for reference. The concept could be used in regions that are heavily built up or natural regions in which there are limitations in regards to new constructions.
[Image Courtesy of Jose Antonio Penas]
The Juncal Viaduct has been used as a reference for British and Spanish researchers so that they could verify whether the wind blowing under the pillars would be able to move the wind turbines enough so that they could produce electricity.
Their study was based on computer simulations and models and the research was undertaken at the Kingston University in London. The researchers based their concept on porus discs so that they could evaluate the amount of air resistance along with testing out the different configurations.
Of course the more surface that the rotor swipes, the more power is produced. In small turbines however they saw that the power rate over the square meter was higher. They came to the conclusion that configurations with two turbines that were identical in design would be the best solution for installation in viaducts.
The most suitable solution was an installation of two different sized wind turbines to utilize all of the space. It may also be possible to make use of a matrix or perhaps 24 small turbines. In the case of the Juncal Viaduct the power would come in at around 0.25 MW per wind turbine. This means that if two turbines were used the power output would then be 0.5MW and this would put it among the medium power range.
To put this into perspective this would be around the average consumption of 450 to 500 homes. The installation could help to avoid emission of about 140 tons of CO2 each year.
Canarian company ZECSA promoted the research and Vigo University researchers took part to analyse the connections needed in the development of the project alongside researchers from the Gran Canaria University in Las Palmas.