Wind turbines can be installed under bridges to produce electricity, according to a study from a European researchers team, which has been published in the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews.

Researcher Oscar Soto and his colleagues at Kingston University in London used models and computer simulations to study renewable energy and wind turbines. They found that wind blowing in between pillars of the Juncal Viaduct in Gran Canaria, Spain, could be used to move wind turbines and thus produce electricity.

The most feasible configuration to install in viaducts is two identical turbines, Soto said. The wind potential in the Juncal Viaduct is about 0.25 megawatts (MW) per turbine. With two turbines, the total power output would be about 0.5 MW, putting it in the medium-power range. This is equivalent to the average consumption of 450–500 homes, Soto said. This configuration would eliminate 140 tons of carbon dioxide emission per year, or “an amount that represents the depuration effect of about 7,200 trees,” he said.

“As natural, the more surface is swiped by the rotor, the more power can be produced,” Soto said. “However, it was seen that in small turbines the power rate per square meter is higher.”

Canarian company ZECSA promoted this research, which studied wind turbines as porous discs to evaluate their air resistance. Researchers from Vigo University and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria University also analyzed the electrical connections required to develop these wind turbines. The study also is framed in PAINPER, a public infrastructures exploitation plan to increase the use of renewable energy.

“PAINPER is an initiative which emerges from the difficulties seen in the implantation of this kind of energies in heavily built-up territories as well as protected areas with low available space for new installations,” said Aday Martín, ZECSA manager.