WIND TURBINES IN VIADUCTS
The highway network of our country has great bridges that have been the object of investigation of a large team of European engineers, taking as a reference the viaduct of the Barranco del Juncal, in Gran Canaria. What if large-sized wind turbines could be incorporated into these great bridges in order to generate renewable energy?
The calculations of this investigating group confirm the possibility. This idea could be applied in overcrowded territories with this kind infrastructures, or in natural areas where the construction of new installations is limited.
The study was based on models and computer simulations done by the investigator Óscar Soto. “As is natural, the more surface covered by the rotor, the more power can be extracted; nevertheless, we have found that in small turbines the relation of power produced per square meter is greater,” explained Soto, who considers that the installation of two identical turbines would be the most viable plan for incorporation into the viaducts.
If only the power produced were taken into consideration, the best solutions would be to install two rotors of different sizes, to cover the greatest surface possible, or else a matrix with 24 small turbines, for their power per surface unit and light weight; but with regard to viability, the option of two identical medium-sized rotors wins out.
“This would be the equivalent of the average consumption of some 450 or 500 homes,” noted Óscar Soto, who added, “An installation of this type would avoid the emission of some 140 tons of CO2 a year, an amount that represents the purifying effect of some 7,200 trees.”
If this project were carried out, we would be seeing the birth of a new way of generating wind energy, making use of pre-existing infrastructures, taking advantage of these constructions and lowering costs, and also promoting renewable energies in atypical and possibly very effective locations.