Going Green: Self-sustaining streetlights
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SU Professors Michael Pelken and Thong Dang have embarked on a mission to revolutionize the world of outdoor lighting with a self-sustaining streetlight.
“We're working with essentially three components. Solar, which are PV panels, then we're working with vertical axis wind turbines and we're working with low energy lighting, LEDS, lighting components,” said Michael Pelken, SU School of Architecture.
The advantages are threefold.
“With LED lighting we will see significant savings compared to the present lighting system although those systems could changeover to LED too. Obviously there's energy savings and cost savings by operating off the grid and a third one that's pretty significant eliminating trench work and cabling, infrastructure and roadwork that often exceed the cost of the lamp itself,” said Pelken.
Also, unconnected to overhead wires or underground power lines the self-sustaining street light could be placed anywhere sun and wind are available.
“The conventional way is to add a solar panel and wind turbine to an existing streetlight. This design is unique because we make the components work together so the turbine, the PVs and the LED combine to amplify the wind speed so we can extract more energy out of the wind,” said Thong Dang, SU Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.
“The design is coming out of an optimization process. The design doesn't start with sketches for aesthetic concerns but instead the design is based on performance considerations to integrate the optimization of components,” said Pelken.
“It's really these plates you see. These plates have the effect of amplifying the wind speed as it enters the channel. The design we have right now, for example, amplifies the wind speed by maybe 25 percent,” said Dang.
Their corporate partner, Impact Technology, is building a prototype to begin field-testing but initial test results were very encouraging.
“We did have a group of senior mechanical engineering students build one and their testing showed the unit harvesting power from the wind,” said Dang.
About Going Green:
Going Green is produced in cooperation with the College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Learn more about SUNY ESF by visiting their website, esf.edu.