Four engineering students at a city college have come up with a cheaper means of producing power from moving highway vehicles.
Besides keeping the streetlights on, the vertical turbine, they believe, would help keep the traffic lights and signboards on.
Designed by the final-year mechanical engineering students at Sri Venkateshwara College of Engineering (SVCE), the turbine would generate power using the high-energy wind whipped up by the speeding cars and busses.
"The turbine has been designed in such a way that it rotates even in a low wind speed," Prof Sridhar Deshpande, who guided Rahul B, Prathik S, Sampath B, and Prashanth D to create the power generator, told DH.
"Our highways have a speed limit of 80 km/hr, which is enough to give a thrust to the turbine. The power it generates is adequate to keep the LED streetlights on throughout the night."
As roads and flyovers have high wind movement, the turbine can generate adequate power to even keep the lights on in nearby villages and buildings, the professor said.
The cost of setting up a turbine would be Rs 6,500, which could be brought down if they are mass-deployed. The turbine can be fixed at any corner of the road or divider where the traffic movement can produce maximum wind speed.
To cut down the cost further, the team is looking for an alternative to steel which is being used to produce the model.
"The turbines are in the danger of being stolen in a few days after their deployment since steel is the most sought-after metal," one of the team members Prathik said. "We're working to find an alternative that would allow the turbine rotating even more smoothly with the available wind speed."