The use of alternative energy is vital within our generation. As the prices of fossil fuels skyrocket and we are beginning to exhaust our natural resources it’s becoming inherently clear that we need to begin to think outside the box and utilize the energy around us that is so often overlooked. The city of Lincoln has set out to do just that by partnering with engineers at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln as part of the Cleaner Greener Lincoln Initiative. Through research and design tactics researchers have been able to design a hybrid solar and wind powered stoplight at the busy intersection of 84th and Highway 2 located within the southern part of the city.
Currently, the City of Lincoln spends almost $1 million to run its streetlights and $72,000 to run traffic signals. Through this new development, within the City of Lincoln, Lincoln can only benefit in both financial and environmental aspects. It is believed that the hybrid wind and solar powered stoplight can produce 20 watts, while the wind turbine can generate 1,300 watts at a peak wind speed of 29 mph. This can easily provide the energy needs of the lights, which on an average day draw 450 watts of energy. Although not cheap by any means, at $8,000 per light, any excess energy is then returned to the power grid, which can ultimately save the city money as well as save fossil fuels.
Through the development of this renewable wind and solar power technologies, it truly shows that the utilization of alternative energy is very obtainable and that this concept could be implemented on a global scale. This is truly a lesson in the power of sustainable thinking; with creative, innovative, and contemporary design tactics we can expect to see more and more of these innovative designs in our traffic systems.
With this new development in what other ways do you think we could expect to see renewable energy sources used in the future?
Credits: Photo by Lisa Gran. Images and data linked to sources.