Harvesting Roadside Wind Energy

EPA Grant Number: SU834329
Title: Harvesting Roadside Wind Energy
Investigators: Zhong, Linghao , Hamilton, James
Current Investigators: Zhong, Linghao , Brenner, Joseph , Dahal, Rochak , Hamilton, James , Herzog, Zig , Llyod, Bradley
Institution: Pennsylvania State University
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Phase: I
Project Period: August 15, 2009 through August 14, 2010
Project Amount: $9,958
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2009) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Energy , P3 Awards , Sustainability


In this proposal, we will study the feasibility of utilizing wind produced by passing vehicles in highways and converting it to electricity. A vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT) will be built and installed along highway I-81. Its performance will be monitored and analyzed.

There are several questions we want to answer by conducting this research: (1) Does this technology abide by Pennsylvania Department of Transportation highway regulations? (2) What is the energy output from such an instrument? (3) What are the possible applications of such a technology?


Two student teams will be set up. The first team (mainly social science students) will contact Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and local authorities to find the pertinent regulations. The second team (mainly engineering and science students) will design and construct a wind turbine that converts roadside wind to electricity. The instrument will be installed along a nearby highway after permission is granted. Its performance will be monitored and analyzed.

Expected Results:

The outcome of our study on the regulations will generate a report that includes a list of agencies to be contacted to install the turbine. The report will also include detailed information about the related policies to follow.

The outcome of our study on the technology will include the design of a VAWT instrument, its benchmark results in the laboratory, the performance sheet along a local road, and its performance when installed along a nearby highway.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 5 publications for this project

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report