Brisbane, Australia, has completed the ultimate feel-good footbridge--a 470-meter structure plastered in 84 solar panels that power LED lights and feed excess energy to the electrical grid. The Kurilpa Bridge, which connects South Brisbane to the center of the city, is expected to host 36,000 bikers and walkers every week.
Kurilpa's panels generate 100KWh of power daily (38MWh yearly), or enough to power 75% to 100% of the bridge's lighting and save 37.8 tons of carbon dioxide annually. The sailboat-like bridge also uses a control system to produce special lighting effects that will come in handy during Brisbane's annual Riverfire celebration.
The $63 million bridge is missing one key feature, however: piezoelectrics. With so many people strolling across the bridge on foot, it seems like a waste of energy not to harvest their collective power. Perhaps the bridge's designers should take a hint from Sainsbury, which recently opened a parking lot filled with kinetic plates that power the supermarket's checkout line.