Experimental Investigations of Wind Shear from Passing a Vehicle

The objective of the proposed project is to perform experimental investigations of wind shear from passing vehicles on freeways and highways for electric power generation. Our previous numerical investigations of an Ahmed body equivalent to a mid-size SUV passing under a freeway overpass have shown that when the vehicle is at 0.75W from the bridge columns, an unsteady wind speed of up to 24 m/s is observed near the columns with a pressure coefficient difference of 0.9. Here W is the width of the vehicle. Details of the investigations have shown the potential of capturing this transient wind for electric power generation at the bridge columns. Using a high-efficiency vertical axis wind turbine with a 0.35 power coefficient, the potential for power generation at the bridge columns from passing a vehicle is approximately 210 W/m2. With continuous traffic flow on freeways and highways, significant renewable electric power could be generated. The goal of the proposed investigation is to validate these results with laboratory and field tests.

Principal Investigator: 
Hamid Rahai
PI Contact Information: 


CSU Long Beach

March 2023 to March 2024
Impacts/Benefits of Implementation: 

California is moving toward 100% clean energy and expanded wind energy will be a major component of its future energy portfolio. Innovations in wind energy resources will move California closer to achieving its goal. The project quantifies and validates wind energy potential and electricity generation from passing vehicles under a freeway overpass.

Project Number: 



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