Friday, July 24, 2009

WHERE SOLAR MEETS THE ROAD


SOLAR POWER ROCKS PHOTO

Tree Hugger - Roads are teeming with possibilities for clean energy generation--they could be lined with small wind turbines, accompanied by solar arrays, even generate energy from speed bumps. And as this potential is growing in recognition, a number of states have jumped on board with some fascinating projects designed to harvest clean energy from their roadways.

According to Green Inc, a few states are already dabbling in roadside energy production. Last year, Oregon began a "solar highway" demonstration project with a 104-kilowatt ground-mounted solar array situated at the interchange of Interstates 5 and 205. The array powers about a third of the lights on the interchange. Massachusetts recently announced a plan to install a utility-scale wind turbine - big enough to power 400 households - on land adjacent to the Massachusetts Turnpike's Blandford Rest Area. . .

Researchers and designers are also toying with ways to generate power along roads, including the use of piezoelectric materials, energy producing speed bumps and integrating wind turbines into road barriers.

While some of these ideas are dubious at best, many offer intriguing possibilities for expanding the potential of the clean energy world.