Swiss company Energy Pier has developed a new concept to build hybrid wind and solar plants along highways.
According to Laurent Jospin, an engineer at the company, the proposed solution is based on proven technology for rooftop PV. “The modules are designed in such a way that they have the highest possible degree of efficiency and can be replaced several times during the service life of the system so that the entire system always stays up to date with technological progress,” he explained.
Regarding the wind power unit, the company said that its load-bearing structure is designed in such a way that it creates an acceleration effect of air movement that is then used by its own AnemoGen, small scale wind generators, which are installed on both sides of the supporting pillars of the PV system deployed along the highway. “The rotor blades could absorb energy even with low air currents, and generate electricity via the generator,” the company explained. “The AnemoGen system is available in different sizes and is able to use both upstream and downstream air flows.”
Energy Pier believes that, with this approach, between 22,000 and 30,000 solar modules, and up to 320 AnemoGen generators, could be installed on every kilometer of a four-lane motorway. In addition, 162 pillars, to sustain the roof, should be deployed.
The company also emphasized the other advantages of its solution. For example, the protective wall and the roof ensure a considerable reduction in noise and the roof also protects the street from snowfall and sun. In summer, this offers protection from excessive heat and UV radiation, and in winter it makes snow-removal superfluous. In addition, the roof areas could also be used as rainwater collectors. The supporting structure, in turn, offers space for cables and other installations, such as emergency charging stations.
According to the company, which is already planning the first two demonstrators, the construction of the photovoltaic-and-wind combined power plants is also possible without interrupting traffic. One is being built in the municipality of Fully, in the canton of Valais. It is expected to have a length of 1,609m and to deliver around 50 GWh of green electricity per year.
The two pilot projects are planned in the Knonauer Amt district of the canton of Zurich. They will occupy a total area of 2,500m and generate around 78 GWh of solar and wind power annually.
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