Eco-Bridge Over Troubled Times: Green Design Drives Concept

Bridges are constantly exposed to the elements, sitting outdoors as they do in all types of climates and in every kind of weather. It is a wonder that before now no one has thought to harness these massive man-made structures for harnessing natural eco-friendly power. The Solar Wind bridge concept would take advantage of a particular bridge’s location and altitude to capture two separate types of green energy.

Although automotive bridges are part of an infrastructure that can not exactly be called eco-friendly, they are often in unique positions to capture plenty of sun and wind. Their necessary elevation and, of course, their constant exposure to the sun means that they make ideal collectors of solar and wind energy.

This bridge design was meant for s specific site in Italy. As part of the Solar Park Works – Solar Highway competition which asked for designers to remake a section of decommissioned elevated highway between Bagnera and Scilla, three designers put their heads together to come up with this innovative idea. Francesco Colarossi, Giovanna Saracino and Luisa Saracino saw the potential in the bridge’s location due to its constant battering by crosswinds and its exposure to the lush Mediterranean sun.

(all images via: Gizmag)

The road itself would be made of not the traditional asphalt, but instead of a dense network of solar cells coated in durable plastic. The solar cells could produce as much as 11.2 kWh per year. The bridge would also contain 26 integrated in the spaces between the bridge supports which would provide an additional 36 million kWh per year. All told, the innovative bridge could power up to 15,000 homes. But the benefits don’t stop there: the designers also envision the sides of the roadways as makeshift small-space farms/market stalls. Farmers could grow and sell their wares right there on the side of the bridge. While we love the idea, we’d much rather see urban planners concentrate on the first part of the design – integrating eco-power collection devices into everyday structures – before getting too fancy with the idea.