Near the town where I live, there is a large span bridge which crosses a wide, deep valley: Through which runs a river, stretching far in land from the sea.
It is a very high bridge, some 100ft from the river level to the road it carries... but it has always struck me a wasted opportunity to contribute to the nation's clean energy supply.
It was a few years back when we began to see the wind turbines appear out to sea that it occurred to me that this bridge, in aerodynamic terms, is nothing but a huge aerofoil
, or wing
, spanning the river, and at roughly the same height as these wind turbines are mounted on their stems... and the more I thought about it, the more it became apparent to me that mounting the turbines had many advantages over the free standing technology now popular.
As well as being the appropriate height for the turbines to operate, the bridge also affords easy access for repairs and maintenance, if you were to position the access tunnels suspended under or over the road, and the cables likewise could be run the length of the bridge, substantially reducing operational costs by not requiring a separate operation and skill levels to reach them by boats and climbing equipment, and not at sea where perilous weather conditions may hamper this effort.
In addition, the electricity station could be located nearer the source of generation at the end of the bridge, and hydroelectric tidal float generators could be positioned at the bases of the piers, perfect to catch the tidal flow, and so doubling the sources of electricity generation... with access either by boat, or through internal elevators or stairs in the piers themselves.
The natural geography of the valley actually assists the wind by accelerating it through the valley to and from the sea as it narrows to where the bridge will naturally be located to catch it, as this is the shortest crossing point. And with the rise and fall of the tide, the whole landscape acts as a giant bellows, sucking the wind through the valley inland, and then back the other way when the tide turns, a phenomena in evidence when I have observed from a nearby hill overlooking the valley, the early morning mists funnelling through the valley, carried by the air as it rushes past.
There are many such geographic locations in most every nation where this is also true, and where the cost of erecting a new bridge for transport crossings can therefore be shared with the incorporation of such turbines and tidal generators, and even recuperated through the profits from the power generated.... most particularly suited, and that which sprang most readily to mind was the deep valley fjords of Scandinavian countries... hence the name of this idea (nice ring to it).(Admittedly, my sketch looks like a pair of shoes with eyes on them!.... but it looked a much more architecturally elegant and graceful bridge in my head... taller, more slender, giving a more generally Gothic industrial impression, in bright steel and masonry block style concrete... Oh Well.)