Overhead Wind Turbines

30 Apr

A great new idea from an Arizona State Uni student, here.

Highway turbines


Clearly potentially a great use of overhead,unused space. Just imagine how wide reaching schemes like this could be. Currently just a project but it’s been getting plenty of recognition over the internet. Here’s the text:


Ok, so here is my project this semester. I will post the description that I wrote to explain the project:

Parasitic Catalyst
Parasite- an organism that lives on or in an organism of another species, known as the host, from the body of which it obtains nutriment.
Catalyst- something that causes activity between two or more persons or forces without itself being affected.

The highway system that dissects Phoenix is expansive. While connecting 515 square miles of the Sonoran desert to support our sprawling culture, the valley freeways divide communities. My catalyst proposes to retroactively collect royalties on the land taken from social interaction. The design is a retrofitting replacement of the horizontal steel tube that currently holds freeway signage. The replacement will house two horizontal axis wind turbines (Quiet Revolution designs) that will be powered by the turbulence created from the passing cars.
Average vehicle speeds on the valley highways are approximately 70 mph. Using average annual wind speeds of 10 mph as a baseline, each single wind turbine will produce 9,600KwH of energy, annually (enough to fully power my 700 s.f. apartment). This power production estimate will increase exponentially with an increase in wind turbulence speed. I believe that the wind stream created over the freeways by our primary mode of transportation will create an average annual wind speed well beyond the baseline of 10 mph.

There are two ways in which the power could be used: supply the power directly to the grid to supplement current energy supply, or use the power locally to aid in producing a community hub for social interaction.

The site I have chosen to initially deploy my catalyst is located near the intersection of State Route 51 and Osborn Road. The initial draw to this site was the observation of multiple intersections. These intersections include the Grand Canal, Piestewa Parkway(State route 51), and Osborn road. This place is a transportation hub for all modes of travel; pedestrians, bicyclists, water flow, and vehicular traffic move fluidly through the site. Given the heavy preference for the car, most of the land is allocated to that user group. Whatever is left over becomes undesired space left over for decomposed granite, Palo Verde trees and the nomadic homeless. Kids also use the space to fuel their desire to be outdoors. Trails of bicycle tire marks create striated textures in the decomposed granite mounds supporting the freeway overpass. Public bicycle trails/ recreation corridors following the two pieces of infrastructure also converge on the site.

Analyzing the site from an aerial view, the applied grid upon which this city is built is apparent. The fascinating point about this site is the flowing shape that the two forms of infrastructure (canal and freeway) produce, ignoring the rules of the applied grid.

As an important asset to the community, the canal system deserves more respect. It is the bloodline of the community. As such, we need to light and shade the canal. I believe that the power generated by the moving vehicles will benefit the community the best by providing these canal amenities.

Here is the image I am working on to convey a canal system that becomes a community hub for both night and daytime. It features a sail shade structure that lights up at night. If you have ever been to Phoenix in the summer, you know that it burns! Shade from the day and light for the night could be the initial catalyst to make this place used.

The mounds that are built up to support the freeway are perfect audience seating for performance viewing.

Another important aspect to the project includes the notion of social justice. By mixing programs, (i.e.-homeless shelter, skate park, recreation path, communities would interact. (I know, it sounds cliche) Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks for sticking in there and reading.


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