MONITORING REPORT ISB: A young entrepreneur has invented a roadside wind turbine that could help harness energy from traffic.
On the side of a busy main road leading into Dundee, on the east coast of Scotland, a small wind turbine spins in the wind of passing cars and trucks. As it rotates, it charges a battery that is below the ground.
This is the prototype of an invention by Sanwal Muneer, a young entrepreneur from Pakistan, which has received funding from Shell and won an award from the United Nations.
Muneer was inspired to create the turbine as he stood on the side of a Malaysian racetrack four years ago. “At first, the breeze from the cars was just a welcome relief from the humidity,” he says. “Then I started to think about how we could use that energy.”
The turbine stands two-and-a-half metres tall. Made of recyclable carbon fibre, it weighs just nine kilogrammes, making it easy to transport and install. The fully-charged battery can hold a kilowatt of electricity, enough to run two lamps and a fan for around 40 hours. The idea is that this could be a source of electricity for rural communities in developing countries, or could power traffic lights or road signs in urban areas.
Dundee City Council is the first local authority to allow Muneers company, Capture Mobility, to test the turbine beside its roads. “Reusing our energy is so important,” says Neil Gellatly, head of roads and transportation for Dundee City Council.