A new streetlights concept by a team of Spanish researchers and entrepreneurs, holds the potential to revolutionize the energy efficiency plans of urban environments. What makes the new design different and much more promising than existing ones, is the fact that these lights are powered by both solar and wind.
One of the biggest challenges in front of city officials is to find the right balance between energy efficiency and the need to maintain streets well-lit, in order to ensure safety and security for the citizens. This is most probably the reason why most concepts that provide a green solution to urban energy needs are always welcome with ovations. Prototypes of such technologies include the Wind Tree Turbines, Cellphone charging bench, using plants along roads to make power, and others (see the Top 5 Crazy Energy Generation Projects here).
But this new concept from scientists at Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya and the employees of the Spanish startup Eolgreen, is probably one of the best ideas around. Streetlights, powered by both solar and wind, equipped with batteries that can supply power for either 3.5 or 6.5 nights, are definitely a temptation that no city official can resist.
Each 10 meters (32.8ft) tall streetlight has two 100-watt polycrystalline solar panels, an array of Philips LEDs and a lithium iron phosphate battery pack. In addition, it has a wind turbine, which begins to generate electricity at the modest minimum wind speed of 1.7 m/s (5.6 ft/s), producing a maximum output of 400 watts.
Of course, to make the whole set-up complete, although all lights can work completely off-grid, they also have the possibility to be linked to a central station, and send updates and status reports via UHF every half an hour. In this way, they will be easy to maintain and technical problems can be fixed as soon as possible.
The incredible invention has already been sold to a number of municipalities in Spain. The agreements state that some 700 lights should be manufactured only this year.
Image (c) Eolgreen