The great thing about collaborative design sites like Archinect is that they allow brilliant student ideas to escape the confines of studio and get the attention they deserve. Case in point is Arizona student Joe who posted this amazing idea on his Archinect school blog for a highway wind turbine would harvest the wind created by fast-moving automobiles to send power back into the grid. If feasible, this wind turbine project could be easily retrofitted to transform most of the world’s highways into endless power sources. Imagine highways being known for their power generation instead of their traffic!

Joe’s project proposes the installation of two wind turbines placed horizontally on the steel frames that currently hold freeway signs along the Phoenix Highway. According to his calculations, he reckons that each turbine would be able to generate 9,600kwh per year, which would be more than enough to power a few apartments, or, as he is proposing, more than a few community hubs along the freeway.

While there are a lot of technical issues that may prevent the project’s deployment (such as the amount of turbulence on the road, the actual wind speed generated at the head height, etc) we must applaud Joe for the great idea. Good job Joe! Keep us posted…

We’ve seen a similar idea from Mark Oberholzer, the runner-up of the 2006 Metropolis Next Generation Design Competition. Nice to see this sort of thinking gaining momentum!

Highway Wind Turbines