Wind, as we all know, can be used to generate electricity. Turbines installed in wind-prone areas have been proven generators of clean, green power. But most of the time, you need open areas and large spaces to locate these. So how do you bring wind power to the city? Mark Oberholzer may have just the solution, designing a system that would generate power from a rather unique place: The New Jersey highway. And he doesn’t propose that we install wind turbines near the highway, but rather, that they be put in the highway, and that they power a light-rail transport system.
The design, a runner-up in the 2006 Metropolis Mag Next Generation Design Competition proposed the integration of wind-turbines into the highway barriers that divide the traffic. These turbines would generate power from the wind created by the vehicles that drive past them in opposite directions. Originally conceived as a single row of vertical-axis rotary turbines, it has now been redesigned to include two rows, one stacked on top of each other, with the end power being used to power a light rail system.
“The peaks of traffic flow more or less coincide with those of energy use,” Mark says. As the traffic peak hour matches requires the moving of a large amount of people, integrating it with a traffic rail system may have a second beneficial effect: that of decongesting the busy highways.