The wind-tunnel effect created by the hundreds of thousands of cars and trucks that travel Highway 401 each day makes Centennial College’s Scarborough campus an ideal location for a small wind turbine to feed power back to the school.
To test the potential, engineers have raised a 30-metre tower designed to measure wind speed in the area.
If the results look good, drivers could see a new windmill as soon as next summer, says Matt Vonarburg, one of the engineering students who proposed the idea.
Embracing green energy sources like wind could help put an end to energy woes such as pollution and a predicted shortage of fossil fuels in the future, he says.
“There’s huge potential,” he said. “It’s just that in the European countries they’ve had incentives in place for a much longer time, and Canada’s just starting on that end.”
With only one wind turbine planned, the electricity produced would only be enough for the equivalent of about six households.
Centennial College plans to use the windmill to train students interested in the growing field of alternative energies, however. The college is developing a renewable energy program that will also look at producing power from solar panels and biofuels.