Gallery: Turbine Light Illuminates Highways With Wind


As more and more people across the world adopt cars as their primary mode of transportation, well-lit highways become increasingly important. But how can we sustainably power all those energy-sucking lights? TAK Studio addressed that question in their entry into this year’s Greener Gadgets competition to find the green technology solution of the future. Dubbed the Turbine Light, their design aims to illuminate our roadways using the power of the wind.

TAK’s wind-powered light uses the moving air from cars zipping by on the highway to generate energy that can be used to power roadside lighting. It’s a controversial idea–could wind from passing cars actually provide enough power for lighting?–but one that has the potential to save lots of cash in already wind-heavy regions. Alternatively, cities might consider using solar-powered lights instead. The idea has been proven to work many times over, including at the recent COP15 climate change conference. Tell us what you think by commenting below.

Check out the Turbine Light and all of the other amazing entries in the Greener Gadgets Competition here and voice your choice for your favorite. And if you’re going to be in NYC on February 25, don’t forget to register for the Greener Gadgets Conference where you can see all of the finalists!

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  1. tuhd September 23, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    in nevada this would generate power constantly

  2. shravani December 21, 2010 at 7:44 am

    i am going to do this as my eco friendly project please send me some suggestions to my mail

  3. Italian Mafia Gets In t... September 10, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    […] further than Italy, where the Mafia (AKA the “lords of the wind”) has infiltrated the wind power business. Fraud is rampant in Sicilian mob strongholds like Corleone, where the Mafia owns […]

  4. kmanoj August 27, 2010 at 4:41 am

    i am going to do this idea as my project in ug degree please give your suggestions to my mail

  5. donnie March 9, 2010 at 10:54 am

    thisssssss rocks man

  6. ciaoenrico February 9, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    The one problem is what if the highway’s not busy, like at 2AM when you need the light the most? At best they’d all be turning on behind you.Even if you staggered the fans and lights, so the fan you pass actually turns on the light next to it, your visibility is still limited to one area of the road.

    Instead I’d use the power grid for the lights, and use the fans to generate power from the passing cars anyway. Just send them back to the transformer and at least offset the drain by the highway lights.

  7. bpg131313 February 7, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    While I don’t think these things will generate enough power to offset that used, I do believe that they are certainly a step in the right direction when applied in areas with appropriate wind exposure. I’ve never seen generation from wind or solar as being an answer just in themselves (per site). I think they are fantastic when looked at over the whole and through distributed generation, things look much better. Every bit helps. Even the solar panels I’m going to put on my house.

  8. sivakd February 7, 2010 at 12:28 am

    I got this idea 2 years back, here is my blog on the concept

  9. clumma February 6, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    Oh, and as to the idea that wakes of traffic moving in opposite directions could produce net power at these turbines… let’s just say I’m extremely doubtful.

  10. clumma February 6, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    The most efficient small-scale VAWTs I know of are made by HelixWind. According to their specs (once you fix their obfuscating units), their 10′ model produces about 90W at an avg wind speed of 10mph, which is generous for urban areas. Pictured are two semicutoff light fixtures per VAWT, which will use 500W to be modest. Assuming a 12hr/day lighting duty, we are at least a factor of 3 short. The 20′ HelixWind model gives us factor of 1.5. But these turbines have cut-in speeds of 8 & 10mph respectively, so actually we’re not getting anything for the bottom half of our 10mph average.

    In short, this might be worthwhile on a bridge in a windy spot (the lamps will still have to be grid-connected of course) but it’s way off the mark generally. LEDs and other technologies will soon match the 200lm/W of sodium vapor without the yellow hue, but we’re unlikely to do much better than that. Designers love VAWTs because they don’t look like they’re going to cut your face off, but they’re inherently less efficient than HAWTs and in fact the HelixWind designs are very close to the theoretical max.


  11. Brad Hunter February 6, 2010 at 10:43 am

    This design could benefit from my turbine. I was not able to locate the TAK Design firm with Google and got so many links to reproductions of this article I thought I would try this. Please forward my information to them. My name is Brad Hunter and I have a low RPM, high torque turbine that is very close to full production and might be a good fit for this design. My website is – Thank you for your help with this.

  12. Brad Hunter February 6, 2010 at 10:29 am

    With a low RPM, high torque, efficient turbine, this could work. My turbine design may be a possibility as the output is very good even in low wind. Look up SpinPower . org and you can find out how close we are to full production. I think it is potentially a very good fit for a project like this. As I can not find the design company with the flood of repeats on this article, please pass this along if you know how to reach them.

  13. kjuhi February 6, 2010 at 4:08 am

    this has already been done in several cities around the us and world.

  14. badhaskins February 5, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    Why limit this solution to lighting? Post these mini generators on every interstate median and feed the grid!

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