Wind power fuels art
Making a Piece of Pittsburgh Shine


Wind power is among the most sustainable technologies for generating electricity, and this renewable source can be used in a multitude of ways. Covestro has demonstrated how innovative materials in wind turbines can exploit the wind’s power—and most recently, we were part of a collaborative effort to show how art can do the same. The Energy Flow art installation, proudly supported by Covestro, uses wind power to make an iconic Pittsburgh bridge shine. This unique project is yet another connection between Covestro and Pittsburgh’s 446 bridges, many of which are protected by our polyurethane raw materials.
"We champion projects like Energy Flow because they push the boundaries of what was thought to be possible, using technology in new and innovative ways to drive greater awareness around the topic of sustainability."
Jerry MacCleary, President of Covestro LLC in North America

A new approach to powering art

Wind turbines illuminate steel

Covestro is committed to sustainability and innovation, which is why we proudly supported the Energy Flow art installation on the Rachel Carson Bridge in Pittsburgh, Pa. Sixteen specially designed wind turbines are mounted on steel platforms that are secured to the bridge’s catenary arches. These turbines run four nanogrids that, together, create a microgrid.

As the wind whips down the Allegheny River, the wind energy is captured by the turbines, converted to electricity and stored in batteries. At night, these batteries power the 27,000 multi-colored LED lights that are positioned along the vertical cables of the bridge. The turbines will continue charging the batteries when the wind is above 8 mph, and the batteries’ storage capacity allows the lights to function for up to 12 hours if there is no wind. A weather station located on the bridge allows the lights to give a real-time visualization of the wind’s speed and direction.

Environmental artist Andrea Polli designed the installation and Rod Gdovic, CEO of WindStax Energy, developed the nanogrids and wind turbines that power the lights. The bridge is named after Rachel Carson, an environmental activist and Pittsburgh-area native, making it a perfect fit for such an environmentally friendly installation. The bridge’s lights debuted during the 2016 holiday season.

This unique lighting display and its use of renewable energy so perfectly captures our vision at Covestro – to create a cleaner, brighter future through innovative technologies.

For more information:

Here’s How Wind Powers 27,000 Lights

“Energy Flow” Lighting on the Rachel Carson Bridge

"Covestro is a company that understands sustainability, that understands technology. This [project] is an example of what can happen when you bring together a team."
Bill Peduto, Mayor of Pittsburgh

Covestro North America

Taking pride in the place we’ve called home for nearly 60 years

Covestro’s North American operations are headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pa. That is why when the City of Pittsburgh wanted to illuminate the Rachel Carson Bridge for its bicentennial celebration, we proudly supported the Energy Flow installation. While we were drawn to the sustainability side of the project, we were also enamored by what it meant for the city.

Pittsburgh has experienced a renaissance, and this bridge is a perfect representation of the city’s transformation from an industrial town to a hub of technology. The city is now known for its high-tech startups, vibrant arts community, rich cultural heritage and world-class universities – and Covestro is thrilled to be a part of such a richly innovative region.

We applaud the efforts of those parties who helped bring the project to life, including Andrea Polli and her creative team, Ron Gdovic and WindStax Energy, Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto, the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, Riverlife, the City of Pittsburgh, Duquesne Light Company, DQE Communications, Alcoa and the Pittsburgh Bicentennial Bridge Lighting Committee.

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