Where the highway’s cleaner, greener future lies?

If you’ve driven the gamut of highways like I have – everything from those having multilayered or multi-tiered interchanges to those less traveled (combination 50/6 in Nevada and Utah would exemplify such) – then you, like I, highway-wise, have seen it all.

Along with this I’ve seen a variety of technology applied or adapted to the highway including automatic or automated toll-collection in addition to roadside surveillance systems that can catch speeding and other driving-related violations. As well, there are devices that can be placed nearby the roadway that can detect and identify gross polluting vehicles. It’s really wide open where road-based technology is concerned.

But, one that I hadn’t heard of until today thanks to a friend who texted me info related to such, is the median-placed wind turbine, the purpose of which is to produce electricity from traffic breezing by in lanes adjacent to such.

As I write this there is one under test in Turkey apparently. From what I was able to learn so far, it’s known as the ENLIL turbine. And, it generates 1 kilowatt of electricity per hour from what I understand. It, moreover, has a solar collector positioned at its top.

Now, imagine highway medians, especially those in close quarters to the lanes of traffic travel themselves, so typical of metropolitan-based highways outfitted with scads of these devices. Not only could these appliances take advantage of air currents caused by nearby moving vehicle traffic, but also from weather-related wind gusts.

It’s an idea in my view whose time has come. Why? Because if energy generated by moving vehicle traffic can be tapped and put to good use instead of it being wasted, then why not?!

Consider such traffic-median-placed-wind-turbine producing electricity to power such on-road appurtenances like electronic message signs and billboards as well as those street-surface-illuminating lights or lamps situated high up on tall light standards. If the energy produced from said median-located turbines say, for example, replaced that which is otherwise from fossil-fuel-generated electricity, just think of the implications. We’re talking cleaner air from fossil fuel not being burned in this instance.

But, consider this too. Courtesy of air currents that are produced by motorists (via their motor vehicles) who, I presume, also are toll-paying drivers on many a highway, what if tolls could be reduced or even eliminated? A one-good-turn-deserves-another sort of condition – sorry, but I can’t resist – if you get my drift.

Ahem, as I was saying, for these types of technologies, their days have arrived.

We know through our experiences and reading, etc. of such installations of roadside solar systems. And, we drivers have through our driving also been introduced to those wind-turbine farms evident in mountain passes where highways traverse (they seem to be a dime-a-dozen these days). I can only think about what’s coming next. Captured motor vehicle exhaust elements being reprocessed and turned into something useful, productive?

Who knows?! Could be something right around the corner. You just never know!

– Alan Kandel

1 thought on “Where the highway’s cleaner, greener future lies?”

  1. Absolutely! Ideas like this provides ways in which energy transfers from one source to another that feeds and sustains itself is a win win situation. And not to mention new jobs it creates. Love this great idea. Let’s think of some more!!!

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