The good, the bad and the ugly Compressed air-powered cars

As we know it

We know bridges as a connecting plane between two distant and unconnected places. This is what they have been so far. But now it seems, the bridge builders around the world are ready to take the next step in bridge making. They are trying to use bridges for doing something which is unique. Designers are now planning to build bridges which would also generate energy from renewable sources, besides connecting two distant places. In fact these “energy generating bridges” are the future as far as bridge construction is concerned. Having bridges to act as energy farms are also advantageous because precious land is saved since both energy farms and bridges are combined into one single structure.

Need for change

There is great requirement for building structures that can help in generating precious energy. It is a great cost saving and space saving measure. Having these bridges generating energy from renewable sources would greatly minimize the loss of land to industrial projects since both these structures would be combined into one. It would also save cost since the huge amount of infrastructure that is needed to build a separate energy farm would not be required here because, the bridge itself would provide those support mechanisms. Bridges are also great for generating energy because of their height. Being located at a greater height, bridges are generally exposed to strong crosswinds which can easily be harnessed for producing energy. They also get a good amount of sunlight. So having solar wind bridges does make a lot of sense. Wind turbines can be integrated between the pillars and solar PV panels could be embedded on the road surface of these “green bridges”.

What’s next?

1. London Bridge envisioned with a solar vertical farm and residences

London BridgeLondon Bridge with a solar vertical farm and generate energy

What is new?

This concept over river Thames in London, envisioned by Cherry Chetwood, sees the London Bridge as a model for sustainable living. The bridge would just not generate energy for human use, but also produces organic food for the consumption of the city people.

What difference will it make?

Apart from providing renewable sources of energy to the Londoners, this bridge will also act as a market place for the people where they will get all types of organic fruits and vegetables. It will also promote ecofriendly practices like rainwater harvesting, natural ventilation, and passive solar energy.


Many new technologies will have to be invented for this project to be a success.

2. Korea envisions solar-clad bridge for Seoul

Solar-clad Bridge Korea solar-clad bridge for Seoul

What’s new?

This bridge would be built in the city of Seoul in South Korea. The bridge would connect two important places in the city – the National Assembly Building and the Dang-Li power plant. Apart from connecting these two places the bridge will also be able to generate electricity from the numerous solar PV panels fitted on the bridge. Planning Korea would be the firm building this bridge.

What differences will it make?

The electricity generated from the bridge will be used for powering various installations in the city. Apart from that, the bridge will also have a library, a museum, and an IT complex mall built over it. The electricity generated will also power these installations. The bridge will also have docks below to act as parking berths for ships, water taxis, and yachts.


This is a massive project. It could be difficult to integrate so many things into one structure. Only time will tell if this project is viable or not.

3. Cross-wind bridge that generates electricity

Cross-wind Bridge Cross-wind bridge captures cars speeds underneath to generate electricity

What’s new?

This bridge helps generate power from the wind through a network of 2,188 lightweight rotating panels. The bridge has been designed by an entire team of architects which consists of noted architects like Tiago Barros, Jorge Periera, Natalie Batile etc. The bridge would be built entirely from recycled steel which would be bought from the auto industry. The bridge will be built over the Segunda Circular Highway in the city of Lisbon, Portugal.

What difference will it make?

This concept bridge is built on a truss system which increases the crosswind velocity flowing over the bridge. This, in turn, helps rotate the panels which generate energy from the flowing wind. An electromagnetic band fitted around all the rotating panels helps in illuminating the bridge at night with the help of an induction power system. The bridge will also have a tunnel for the bikers and the pedestrians.


Like all such concepts, this is again an extremely challenging one. It will require a lot of innovation and new design methods to successfully turn the concept into reality.

4. The Largest Solar-Powered Bridge to be built in Brisbane

Solar-Powered BridgeThe Kurilpa Bridge is the largest Solar-Powered Bridge Built in Brisbane

What is new?

This is the Kulipa Bridge, the biggest solar powered foot bridge in the world. The bridge, built over the Brisbane river, has 84 solar panels and a complex LED lighting scheme fitted onto it. The bridge is 43 meters long and an estimated $63 millions were spent in its construction.

What difference will it make?

The 84 solar panels together produce about 100 kWh of electricity everyday from sunlight. The total amount of electricity produced in a year is something to the tune of 38 MWh. 75 percent of the electricity produced is spent in lighting the LED lights which illuminates the bridge at night. Any additional electricity is returned to the bridge’s main grid.


Most of the electricity produced by the bridge is spent in lighting the LED lights that have been fitted onto it. Very less amount of electricity is left for other purposes.

Source: ecofriend

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