Alternative Energy

Alternative Energy

Alternative energy news, and information about renewable energy technologies.

Nov 01

Concept Bridge could Generate Electricity from Moving Cars

Posted in Future Technology | Transportation | Wind Power

Cross Wind Bridge When people thought about telephones in underdeveloped countries it was like they would have to invest a huge sum in infrastructure in the form of poles, wires and equipments. No one imagined about cell phones at that time. They transcend most of the infrastructures. In this hour of impending depletion of fossil fuels we have to think differently. The steps may seem small today but they might leave a huge impact in future. Today we can’t be a bystander and watch the energy scene passively.

We know that solar and wind energy is the richest sources of energy. Tiago Barros and Jorge Pereira have created a design that increases the ‘green’ quotient of a bridge. We might have experienced the fact that when cars pass below a bridge, they increase the velocity of the neighboring wind. Tiago Barros and Jorge Pereira are harnessing that quality of the wind. Their designed bridge will light up itself in the night with the power generated by the cars that pass below the bridge by the day. It works on the principle of energy conversion, i.e. from wind to electric energy. The designers believe that cars passing under the bridge will add to wind velocity by up to 20%, optimizing the rotation of the panels. The cross-wind bridge will act like a multipurpose envelope. A unique kind of envelop that will capture the wind power from a network of 2,188 light-weight rotating panels. This bridge is called as Cross-Wind Bridge.

In this design an induction power system plays an important role. It exchanges wind energy through an electromagnetic band located on each panel. This culminates into a power source which is used to light the bridge by night. This clean and green source of energy will increase the green quotient by 35% because of the punctured membrane utilized in the bridge cladding. Why? Because it is made of recycled steel from the auto industry.

Tiago Barros and Jorge Pereira team consists of Ines Valente, Rob Foote III, Yoon-Young Hur, Natalie Bazile and Joao Paulo Fernandes. The cross-wind bridge is 40m in length running southwest / northwest direction over the Segunda circular highway in Lisbon. Its path’s oblique angles are positioned in such a way that they can optimize predominant wind directions. This bridge has another unique feature; it provides a tunnel for pedestrians and bikers too. Cross-Wind Bridge also reconnects and makes accessible the remaining paths of Maria Droste Vila split by the highway and surrounded by Telheiral’s residential park. Again , the bridge gives out an all inclusive message in magnetizing sustainable development and turning rural fragments into areas of public green space.

  • Roland Eastman

    Dear fellow Readers:

    another great idea by very creative individuals. The two biggest issues facing us today with respect to “renewable energy conversion” devices is:

    1) Local Governmental individuals, Mostly at the small rural town level. A great Majority of these folks move into small rural towns for a variety of reasons. Like most other folks, they want piece and quiet. However, a lot of these folks are Professionals from all walks of life that are ignorant to technological change. They have money, but in a lot of cases, no desire to truly help the environment by allowing old “ordinances” to be changed to adapt to new technologies. Additionally: it boils down to “NIMBY’S”. My wife and I would like to install a medium sized wind turbine on our own land. We meet or exceed all the installation requirements, however, the towns in NH have a ordinance that won’t allow “any” structure over 30 feet tall without “special exception” from the Zoning and planning boards where these Ignorant people sit and control. This ordinance is from the early 1900’s where fire fighting equipment couldn’t pump water more than 30 feet high. Now that has been far exceeded in every small town in America. Even if the towns fire fighting equipment is “older”, it would have to be from the early 1800’s not to be able to pump water over 30 feet high.

    What does pumping water have to do with Wind turbines anyway–In most cases, you DON’T use water on electrical fires anyway.

    The other issue, which is still part of the NIMBY ISSUE, only, now it’s alot of “investment” people that have POLITICAL INTERESTS that get money from large contributors like, oil companies.

    THESE politically TIED people are both lying and being lied to by big companies and the large government interests. THE “ever lasting green back will put our country into a energy slump that we’ll never see out of the dark again” because small to medium town political interests are unwilling to gain “future” independants from fossil fuels as well as nuclear, When our political leaders stop lying and truly start working for the American People again, our country will raise itself from the depths of energy starvation as well as being able to give the American work force a chance to work again.

    We need to stop sending our newly developed technologies and jobs overseas where they are exploited.
    American’s and politicians alike need to re-evaluate our issues and start working for Number 1 again!!

    Fossil fuels are dead, stop trying to stretch what is no longer in the ground and get the technologies moving faster. That also means, changing local leaders so the ordinances can be updated to keep pace with technologies. Without updating ordinances, what is the point of creating new technological advances if the “leaders” are going to keep them down by Staying in yesteryear.

    I would like to have anyone with similar views email me to discuss and exchange information on how we can start to get real change moving ahead without using the same old strategy of “empty promises”.

    Thanks for your interest and any comments

  • Jos Conil

    A good idea to make an otherwise inert structure as a bridge to produce some energy. But the maintenance required will be too much to make it a viable part of a public utility.

    This concept will work better in wind screens and rooftop screens in individual buildings where it is easier to maintain.

  • Nima K

    This seems like an example of a solution towards sustainability that is integrated into the existing infrastructure, helping curb the need for new &/or additional development – which is costly as well as a main part of our civilization’s habit of over-consumption.

    Good on you for opening your minds and developing this potentially great solution from such a unique and intelligent concept.

    The intent is there… lets hope it passes the practicality test too!

    Nima K

    Vote Earth350 PPM: People Powered Movement
    Have your say in COP15 when world leaders gather to draft a new global climate treaty this December!

  • Chad G

    I think you would really appreciate the work of Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI). Times are changing for energy sustainability and RMI is at the forefront of it.

    Visit to see for yourself.


  • Sterling Allan

    Bad idea. It’s stealing energy from moving cars, creating resistance to their movement. If the cars needed to slow down anyway, such as prior to a stop sign or coming up on a bend in the road that requires slower speed, that would be another matter. It’s a leach technology, not a symbiotic one.

  • Chad G

    Sterling, my initial response to your comment is that I disagree. My belief is that it’s a simple understanding of energy loss from a vehicle. On one side of the equation, we have the energy of the fuel in the vehicle, i.e. chemical energy. This chemical energy is converted to vehicle motion, i.e. kinetic energy. There are losses in this process including mechanical losses, frictional losses, heat, and aerodynamic losses (and much more).

    A result of aerodynamic loss is the movement of air surrounding the vehicle. To me, it sounds like this bridge idea intends on recovering some of the aerodynamic losses of vehicles in the vicinity of the bridge. By adding components (i.e. rotating panels, etc.) to the bridge will not affect the aerodynamics of the vehicles themselves nor the air the vehicles are moving through.

    I’m not saying that my thinking is necessarily accurate but that is my current understanding of it. If you care to provide better reasoning to why you believe otherwise, I’d like to hear it.


  • L.Kassahun

    I have something to say before that the trial for green source of energy in every part of the world is very encouraging beside the presented idea is very essential but there may be effect on the bridges to mean there would be another way of making bridge for green energy not only this we can make every road i.e the black road in the way that to absorb energy one from the sun light and the other from the car.I can put the energy from the car as due to friction (when it stop and when it travels) due to the vibration of a car up and dawn

    so with this method we can get lots of energy from the road and even there is another way beside this just focus on the road

  • Jos Conil

    @ Kassahun,

    Your thought is exactly the concept behind the Solar Roadways ( Mr. Scott Brusaw, the founder proposes to cover the road surface with special solar panels that can be driven over.Though it is a costly proposal, a test track is under way with a grant from the US Department of Transport.

    There is also another more cost effective proposal to bury water pipes under the road surface and use the steam generated to produce power. A notable development in this area is the experiment by Worcester Polytechnic Institute US ( downside of this proposal is that it requires a lot of water and steam turbines by the roadside or underground.

    Regarding harnessing the mechanical energy from the superimposed load of the traffic,there have been some experiments by an Israeli piezoelectric company Innowattech ( Here again the commercial viability has to be proven as the power out put of piezoelectric materials is not that encouraging. They are also very expensive.

    So what we need is a combined approach which can harness both the heat and load on the roads in a single system. This needs further R&D. Such a system would pave the way towards the smart intelligent roadways of the future.

  • Evert Albers

    Chad is right. This bridge adds to the energy loss in the cars. It is actually a form of tax!

  • L.Kassahun

    In addition I am trying theoretically that

    1. an instrument that change sound energy to electrical energy(may be from moving body)
    2. from twisting thing to mean that by some special mixing we produce material in thin form and then we fabricate inserting inside on close on the tree freely then when a person moves the cloth bend a little and that special material bend together this time there is production of electricity the same is true for tree which the material is attached below the most sensitive part for the wind

  • slaps

    A simple vertical axis windmill on any freeway meridian should put out useful energy, and it will probably help dampen freeway noise. Piezo generators under the road are parasitic, but that isn’t what this is about.

  • Brian


    Vote them out of office. There are many small towns in the upper midwest whose governing bodies have embraced all sorts of ‘green’ initiatives through ordinance and law changes. The best thing about most of these local governments is that they do not fund these initiatives with taxpayer dollars. Thus, they are doing what government is supposed to do, allow individual initiative while finding a balance for all citizens and not increasing the already heavy tax burden on the citizens. Now if we could only stop the runaway, reckless spending that our current administration seems bent on.

  • R.Raja

    Normally when the car pass on bridge by pressing some of Object that move to create kinetic energy that kinetic multiple the speed so power generation produce the DC power stored in the battery’s after some of the year the battery effeminacy life reduced what other choice let me know the technology

  • Nick G

    You are not robbing a vehicle of energy if it is on the downward slope where the cars need to slow down or stop anyway. Obviously not on the uphill climb!

    Adding rollers just before the toll booths at the end of the bridges or a slight incline that the cars would drive on thereby depressing hydraulic pistons would work-they are rolling to a crawl or stop anyway-use their weight!

  • atul

    No doubt the idea is excellent….

    The path is one way or two… ??
    I think it only for th one way because if it will bw two way then the continuous passing of car in a random way will reduces the surrounding wind velocity….

  • Guy

    I’m sorry but the more or less basic understanding of physics tells you that this is facing the perpetumobile problem. The energy output from the wind will be equal to the kinetic energy lost by the car (minus the losses), therefore the CAR and its ENGINE will practically spend energy to power the bridge (because the air moved by the car would move freely, but it gets obstructed by turbines which slow down the car)…

    For me this is a case of environmentalism gone overboard which tends to happen often. This would only be feasible for downhill sections where cars coast or brake…
    Even then the cost/output ratio would be silly…

    I’d rather just forget about the thing alltogether and invest the money in geothermal…

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