Wednesday, July 16, 2014

"Energy Duck" Could Provide Solar and Water Power

Energy Duck Could Provide Solar and Hydro Power

The Energy Duck is a submission to the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) 2014, this year held in Copenhagen, Denmark. Designed by the London-based team of Hareth Pochee, Adam Khan, Louis Leger, and Patrick Fryer, the iconic and engaging public artwork proposal is a renewable energy generator and storehouse, an interactive and educative tourist destination, and a celebration of local wildlife.

The Energy Duck is modeled on the common eider duck, which is found in the waters of Copenhagen. Unfortunately, the eider’s breeding habitat is at risk from the effects of climate change, so the team decided to use its form to raise awareness of the local impacts of a global issue. The appealing, 12-storey high sculpture is proposed to float in the waters of the city’s harbor. It would be constructed from a lightweight steel frame, with very lightweight steel supporting a skin of photovoltaic panels and dummy panels.

Some of the electricity generated by the low-cost, off-the-shelf PV panels would be stored in the form of gravitational potential energy via water pressure. That is, energy is stored by virtue of the difference in water heights inside and outside the duck. The team states: “At night, when there is no solar radiation, the water pressure can be released through hydro turbines within the duck’s belly providing renewable electricity at all times. The floating height of the duck is an indicator of the amount of city-wide energy use relative to the renewable generation.” Both the solar- and hydro-generated power produced would be fed to the city grid, as per the requirements of the competition, and the energy yield would be 75 percent of that of a fully optimized solar farm on the same site. At night the duck would be lit with very low power LED lamps that change color, with the color pattern undulating in a rhythm proportional to the output of the hydro turbines.

Visitors to the sculpture would be able to move around inside the duck through an enormous honeycomb mesh of lightweight steel. Above would be the pattern of a mesh of PV panels in silhouette, backlit by light streaming in through the gaps. Below, visitors would be able to see the sea water rising and falling within the pressure storage tanks. Of their submission the team states: “Often the prospective negative environmental effects of climate change, brought about by excessive CO2 emissions can seem a removed and distant issue. Energy Duck frames the issue of climate change, ecology and the importance of renewable energy in a local context.”

+ Land Art Generator Initiative 2014

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I wanted to post this on the blog because I found it to be inventive, aestheticlly beautiful and functional with the use of water to make energy not doing harm to ecosystems as we see with dams. We need visionary ideas like this to provide local energy to communities in a way that is cost effective and let's face it pleasing to the eye. For many aesthetics plays a big part in acceptance of something new. We hear so many times about people complaining about the aesthetics of wind turbines and solar panels while of course not seeing the effects of tarsands excavation, mountain top removal, etc. because in many cases it happens far from their homes (unless of course you now have a fracking well in your backyard which is not aesthetically beautiful in any way) so they do not understand the true scope of the damage being done to our water/planet by it. This is a great way of integrating features of renewable energy that are functional, have a positive effect on the planet and are pleasing to the eye. We need more of this and fast.

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