alternative energy

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Design

Discarded Wind Turbine Blades Are Upcycled into Sleek Bike Shelters in Denmark

November 8, 2021

Grace Ebert

Image courtesy of Chris Yelland

It’s estimated that before 2050, we’ll generate 43 million tons of waste worldwide from one of the most promising clean energy producers alone. Wind turbines, while a cheap and carbon-free alternative to fossil fuels, are only 85 percent recyclable or reusable, and their massive fiberglass blades, which are so large that they span the length of a football field, are notoriously difficult to break down and often end up deteriorating in a landfill for 20 to 25 years. Until a high-volume solution for recycling the structures becomes viable, there’s a growing trend in repurposing the pieces for maze-style playgrounds, construction materials like pellets and panels, or pedestrian bridges as proposed by Re-Wind Network, a group devoted to finding new uses for the unused parts.

A long-time proponent of wind energy, the Danish government is receiving attention for its own initiative that tasked turbine manufacturer Siemens Gamesa with upcycling the blade. The company transformed the long, curved component into an open-air shelter at the Port of Aalborg, where it protects bikes from the elements. Although Siemens Gamesa doesn’t have plans to launch a large-scale initiative for installing similar designs, it recently released new fully recyclable blades that can be turned into boats, recreational vehicle bodies, and other projects in the future. (via designboom)

 

Image courtesy of Chris Yelland

Image courtesy of Siemens Gamesa

Image courtesy of Siemens Gamesa

Image courtesy of Siemens Gamesa

 

 



Design

The Most Powerful Tidal Turbine To Date Produces Clean, Reliable Energy Off the Scottish Coast

August 5, 2021

Grace Ebert

Earlier this year, the world’s most powerful tidal turbine launched off the Orkney coast, where it will spend the next 15 years generating enough clean energy to power about 2,000 households in the U.K. “O2” is the novel development of the Scottish engineering company Orbital Marine Power, which manufactured the 74-meter-long design during the last decade and a half.

Anchored in the turbulent waters in the Fall of Warness off the northeastern point of Scotland, the 2MW machine is connected to the onshore electricity network of the European Marine Energy Centre. The testing facility uses the powerful currents flowing through the channel from the North Atlantic Ocean to the North Sea—these streams reach 7.8 knots at spring tides—to produce a reliable electricity source for local communities. During its stay, “O2” will also support the center’s hydrogen electrolyzer, which is the first in the world to produce the pure element through tidal velocities, and further aid in broad decarbonization efforts.

Orbital Marine Power has plans to commercialize the innovative technology behind “O2,” which you can explore in detail on the company’s YouTube. (via designboom)

 

All images © Orbital Marine Power, shared with permission

 

 



Photography

A Sea of Glistening Solar Mirrors Photographed at the Nevada SolarReserve by Reuben Wu

September 2, 2016

Kate Sierzputowski

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Chicago-based photographer Reuben Wu (previously here and here) recently photographed the Nevada SolarReserve, a grouping over 10,000 mirrors which power nearly 75,000 homes both day and night during its peak season. Wu photographed the mass of reflective panels during nightfall, allowing the brilliant colors of the sunset to be doubled into the shining surfaces below. Wu likens the energy facility to a topographic ocean, considering it one of the greatest land art installations ever built.

One of Wu’s previous series “Lux Noctis” recently won a grand prize in Photo District News’ The Great Outdoors Photo Contest. You can see more of Wu’s natural and manmade landscapes on his Instagram and Facebook.

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Design Science

This Portable Salt-Powered Lamp Stays Illuminated for 8 Hours on a Glass of Seawater

July 27, 2015

Johnny Waldman

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First the sea gave birth to life. Now, thanks to a trio of Philippine-based inventors, it is giving birth to light as well. Led by engineer Lipa Aisa Mijena, the team has developed a lamp that’s capable emitting light for 8 hours on just 1 cup of saltwater. Not only are the Philippines prone to natural disasters like typhoons and earthquakes but the country is made up of over 7,000 islands, most of which do not have access to electricity, says the team. But one thing they do have is the sea, an abundant source of saltwater that can now be used to light homes and, in emergencies, power cell phones.

The saltwater-powered lamp uses the same science that forms the basis of battery-making. Where they differ from batteries is that the entire reaction is safe and harmless. Moreover, there are no flammable materials or components that go into lamp. Used 8 hours a day, every day, the team says the lamp can provide light for 6 months (or even over a year if used more efficiently) without having to replace any parts.

Over the past year or so SALt (Sustainable Alternative Lighting) has won 7 different sustainability and entrepreneurial awards. If interested, you can enter your name and email on their website to receive product updates but right now the team is focusing on building lamps for their target communities. (via Web Urbanist)

 

 

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