Spanish researchers have developed the world’s first street lamp powered solely by solar and wind energy.
The 10m-high street lamp, a product of four years of development, is fitted with a solar panel and a wind turbine and is 20 per cent cheaper than conventional lighting, the researchers say.
“It takes very little wind to produce energy,” said Ramon Bargalló of the Barcelona-based Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya.
“The generator that has been developed can start working at a wind speed of only 1.7 metres per second, whereas current wind turbines need more than 2.5m/s,” he said, adding that even such low wind intensity can provide enough electricity to keep the light on for six nights without any additional energy.
The turbine performs between 10 and 200 revolutions per minute (rpm) and has a maximum output of 400 watts.
Together with private company Eolgreen, Bargalló is trying to make the system even more efficient. They are currently working on a second prototype wind generator that would run at an even lower speed of 10 to 60 rpm and provide 100W of electricity.
The team has developed a smart electronic control system to manage the flow of energy between the solar panel, the wind turbine, the battery and the light itself.
The system, designed for inter-urban roads, motorways, urban parks and public areas, will be trialled in the port of Huelva and the municipal authorities of Sant Boi de Llobregat, Girona and several towns in Andalusia. By the end of 2015, Eolgreen aims to produce over 700 of those sustainable street lamps.