What do speed bumps have in common with wind turbines?
The same technology that was designed for wind turbines may soon be used to generate electricity on our roads. Puerto Rican company GKP has found a way to harness some of the wasted kinetic energy from the one billion cars on the road worldwide.
Its Traffic Energy Bar System (TEBS) is a mechanical device that is buried into a road, protruding less than an inch above the surface. As a car drives over, it pushes down on two receptor bars, which turns a generator and produces power.
"This concept is very similar to wind turbines," says Antonio Roig, lead engineer of TEBS. "We modified the technology and contained the generator to fit into a device that can be inserted into the roads." Instead of air moving through the blades, vehicles move over the TEBS, the company states.
Each unit can generate 70kWh in an hour if 1,800 vehicles cross it, say the developers. They estimate that 15 TEBS units - about 1MW plated capacity - with a flow of 22,000 vehicles in a day could generate 3.3GW a year.
As a recent winner in the World Economic Forum Decarbonathon competition, its wind turbine-related technology may gain some renewed interest.
SEVEN TIPS TO ASSET HEAVEN
1. Frequently review and challenge performance, using a mix of daily, weekly and monthly reports from O&M providers.
2. Make effective use of Scada and conditioning-monitoring data with in-house or third-party software tools.
3. Understand the contributing factors to turbine performance in order to recommend cost-effective interventions.
4. Review and challenge costs relating to unplanned service interventions, such as generator replacements.
5. For major works, such as gearbox replacement, build a relationship with more than one service provider.
6. Optimise spare parts by keeping long-lead components close to the wind project.
7. Set realistic annual OPEX budgets and ensure spend is monitored effectively. (BVG Associates)
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
"China's ambition on wind now far exceeds Europe's. Other emerging economies have made big long-term commitments. But today, only six out of 28 EU member states have clear commitments and policies for renewables beyond 2020."
Giles Dickson, CEO of the European Wind Energy Association
INVESTMENT FIGURES AND FACTS
€26.4bn European investment in wind energy installations last year - the highest ever recorded in a year, and 40% more than the previous high in 2014 (EWEA)
€7.7bn Dong Energy's planned investment in UK offshore projects in the five years to 2020
€4.6bn Gamesa's market capitalisation around the time of Siemens' announced interest in investing in the company (Bloomberg)
$1.5bn The amount that Apple - one of the wealthiest companies in the world - is seeking to raise through green bonds to invest in clean and renewable-energy projects