Highway wind turbines are generating energy from passing cars
The average wind turbine generates 6 million kilowatts of energy in a year. That’s enough to power 1,500 households. Entrepreneurs Kerem Deveci and Sarp Papatya have integrated these clean and efficient devices into highway infrastructure. On highway meridians in Istanbul, Turkey, smart vertical axis turbines are converting wind from passing vehicles into usable energy.
The project, called ENLIL, has attracted attention from several prominent companies who recognise its ingenuity, practicality, and eco-friendliness. Mercedes-Benz is helping the duo expand the project – ideally from select thoroughfares in Turkey to roadways clear across Europe.
Field Testing in Istanbul
ENLIL’s field testing is underway in Istanbul, which is Deveci’s birthplace. Along with rotating blades that harness wind energy, the turbines are affixed with solar panels and sensors that detect temperature, humidity, wind pressure, carbon dioxide, and even earthquakes.
The goal of ENLIL is to “transforms highways into renewable energy sources by using the dynamics of the city”, although the plan is to place turbines along bus and other transportation routes as well as high-rise apartments. Cities play a large role in the project.
Deveci and Papatya maintain that the inclusion of highway wind turbines will result in safer and more comfortable cities. At some point in the future, the turbines may be able to send vital information to the cities’ residents via mobile app.
How Vehicles Supply the Turbines with Energy
The turbines generate energy from vehicles that pass at a velocity that creates wind turbulence. They also generate energy from the wind itself. One ENLIL turbine can reportedly produce 1 kilowatt per hour, which is the equivalent of the hourly electricity needs of two households.
Various factors determine how much wind energy can be generated from a passing car, including windspeed, vehicle speed, vehicle mass, and whether or not the windows are open. Open windows may produce more wind turbulence as well as reduce the need for air conditioning. This is a win-win for eco-warriors.
Open windows enable better fuel economy than using air conditioning unless the vehicle’s windows have low U-Factor and SHGC levels. These criterions measure how much heat and light are absorbed by a window.
Forbes 30 Under 30/Success with Mercedes
Deveci and Papatya were recently named to Forbes Europe’s 30 Under 30 list. The list recognises 30 Europeans under the age of 30 who are making waves in the manufacturing and industry sector. Deveci, 30, and Papatya, 28, certainly fit the bill. Their start-up DeveciTech, which funds the ENLIL project, won first prize in the technology category at the 2018 Mercedes-Benz Turkish StartUP Competition.
Forbes reports that the automaker is in talks with the duo to produce additional turbines. We will hopefully see them on more highway meridians by the end of the year.
Eco-Friendly Innovations in Highways
DeveciTech is not the only company investing in eco-friendly highway infrastructure. EcoSmart, a corporation based out of Vancouver, Canada, makes concrete out of recycled materials. These include fly ash, ground granulated blast furnace slag, and silica fume. EcoSmart concrete was used in the construction of Highway 1-90 in Spokane, Washington.
Just recently, the Indian government approved the conversion of 780 kilometers of national highway into something that environmentalists will be proud of: roads paved with reusable material and covered with greenery.
ENLIL wind turbines have turned highway meridians into batteries and passing cars into chargers. Kerem Deveci and Sarp Papatya are receiving their due credit for this timely and important innovation. They join a network of eco-friendly developers working to make highways sustainable.