Integration of renewable energy sources in transport infrastructure

If you own one can not do without, better minimize their impact on the environment. Bridges and highways have always been among the most criticized infrastructure from those who care about the issues of sustainability, so that new projects often come up against the opposition of local communities. However, the scenario is likely to change if the projects to produce clean energy from the arteries of traffic will be able to develop on a large scale.

The park suspended

Was widely covered in the international project Solar Wind developed by Italian designers Francesco Colarossi, Giovanna Saracino Luisa Saracino. It is a bridge capable of generating more than 40 million kWh per year of clean energy, using the force of the wind (through 26 turbines to be placed in the spaces that lie between the pillars) and sunlight (thanks to a network of cells solar), satisfying the energy needs of 15 thousand homes. The initiative was placed second in a competition organized by the Calabria region for the realization of the Solar Park South, which provides for the re-use of the Salerno-Reggio Calabria between Scilla and Bagnara, abandoned by Anas. To complete the spirit of "sustainable" the bridge, there are traffic islands at the edge of the road, with trees and vegetation, as well as solar greenhouses, which will have the dual function of producing energy and propose local agricultural products.

The initiatives abroad

Similar initiatives are underway in several countries. In Japan, it began last summer experimenting on the bridge Goshiki-Zakura Ohashi-on Arakawa River, which has been equipped with small generators to transform micro-vibrations generated by the passage of vehicles on the viaduct in energy to power lighting at night. The basic principle of this system is inspired by the way in which work of the enclosures, but with the factors reversed: if the membrane of a loudspeaker receives electrical energy to move and create sonic vibrations, the generators installed on the viaduct pick up the vibrations produced by the car in transit to produce electricity.

Turning to the United States, at the end of 2009, the Department of Transportation has funded three projects on university Solar Road Ways, ie those photovoltaic systems based on the presence of special panels (the top is made of glass, but with special care to ensure flexibility and resistance means in trasnito) instead of asphalt. Their function is to capture the energy from the cars in transit to transform it into electricity.

Name and similar project for Solar Roadways, which in this case is the name of a U.S. company that experiences photovoltaic panels to pave roads instead of asphalt (from 3.7 square meters to the side, namely the standard size of the lanes road in America).

The obstacles to be overcome

Assuming an average insolation of 4 hours a day, every panel, even with an efficiency of around 15%, can produce 7.6 kilowatt hours per day. The energy could then be fed into the grid or stored along the streets, to recharge electric cars. electric cars.

The asphalt can absorb tons of heat, often reaching temperatures of 60 degrees and more during the summer months, but the obstacle still to be overcome to reach a mass usage of this solution regards cost, still far from being competitive with respect traditional asphalt.

Projects to achieve sustainable roads are also underway in Italy in recent weeks we have written off the Cremona-Mantua, the final design will be approved shortly, in which every available surface (buildings, fences, panels, rest areas and courses) will be covered with solar panels, then with the addition of biomass power plants.




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