There are lots of abandoned viaducts in southern Italy, and it is estimated that demolishing them would cost the government about $50 million. Instead of this, town authorities in Calabria, a region in the ‘toe’ of Italy, organized a contest called “Solar Park South” aimed to encourage Italian designers and engineers to propose sustainable ways of repurposing these old constructions.
In fact, most bridges are rather tall and are likely to be subjected to strong winds, especially if the bridge is located in a mountainous area where crosswinds originate.
Together with the constant sunlight exposure, this makes bridges a perfect place for generating both wind and solar power.
The design team of Francesco Colarossi, Giovanna Saracino and Luisa Saracino, whose project took second place in the contest, came up with an awesome concept of a wind turbine viaduct called “Solar Wind,” which makes use of the both renewable sources of energy.
With 26 wind turbines installed between the viaduct’s columns, it could produce 36 million kilowatt hours of electric power per year. The team also proposes covering the surface of bridge’s roadway in solar cells coated in a transparent plastic, which in turn would generate 11.2 million kilowatt hours of electricity.
It means that the wind turbine bridge would produce the total of about 40 million kilowatt hours, which, in fact, is enough to power 15,000 homes!
In addition, the designers envision building a park and a promenade area on the viaduct. Drivers could stop to get some rest and take photos of the picturesque panoramic views of the Italian south. The team also proposes installing solar-powered greenhouses along the bridge, where fresh vegetables and fruit would be grown and then sold to travelers.
Don’t you agree that this idea sounds much better than demolishing the old viaducts?