Sure, we know there’s a lot of wind out there on the Kansas plains. But what about in our power-hungry urban environments? A new system by Luis Castanheira Santos seeks to make use of the wind produced by moving vehicles, harvesting energy that would otherwise be wasted.

The Voltaire vertical axis turbine concept (which comes to us via Tuvie) is a modular product that set up on the side of the road, acting as a kind of barrier. As cars, trucks and motorcycles whiz past, the turbines spin, creating electricity which can be used in turn to power lights.

Voltaire roadside turbine system
image via Tuvie

The idea behind the concept is to keep the system simple, so these power-generating barriers can be moved, combined and maintained with a minimum of effort and infrastructure. The designer also sees these structures providing juice for rest areas and gas stations, grid free, along major transportation routes.

This is a concept that makes a lot of sense (provided the technology works) and fits nicely into a promising movement in green design focused on harvesting small amounts of energy in unexpected places, as in piezoelectrics.

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