Monday, May 21, 2007

Beautiful Solar and Wind power

It is amazing when being green becomes art. These beautiful structures are a sight to behold.

I would be a little wary of this solar tower as concentrated light from 600 mirrors sounds a bit dangerous. From boingboing's Solar power plant looks heavenly.

And I wouldn't want to be a bird flying near those wind turbines! But it is wonderful to see that designers are incorporating renewable sources of energy. From Inhabitat's Bahrain World Trade Center has Giant Wind Turbines.

Now this building design claims to produce enough wind energy to power ten buildings, but I find that a bit hard to believe. It is beautiful if the floors could really rotate in unison to music, but in actuality, they would probably be spinning randomly in a not so pretty pattern, as entropy rules after all. It would be great as a model to spin around on your desk. From EcoGeek's Twirling Tower Could Power Itself, Ten Others.


Bigqueue said...

Sorry....I'm not a mechanical engineer, so I might be WAY off base...but it seems to me that this spining building this would be totally unrealistic.(at least pretty close to nuts to me)

Maybe I'm a bit stressed and not in such a "glass half full" mood...but it seems to me that the first practical problem would be that of the rotating central infrastructure......I imagine the stairways, elevators, restrooms and other central infrastructure would be in the core non-rotating section. I know the building rotates slowly....but how would all that "work"...would elevators and stairways get "blocked" from time to time.....especially if the floors rotate asynchronously.

How about the natural "sway" that these bit buildings have....I suppose this will be considered....but what a complex mechanical design that will be....and the thinner the "core" non-movable parts are the more load from wind sway is loaded on those rotating bearings.

How about friction would of course go up as you go down to the bottom of the building since the weight would be additive....and the lower floors would get less wind too, so I wonder if they would rotate at all.

The noise of all this action would probably be deafening too.....think of all the mechanical gearwork moving...I'm imagining a huge lazy susan sort of groaning sound like your rotating kitchen chairs might make....except real low frequency....but from every floor!

Ok...I know what slip rings are...and I suppose some of the power could be transmitted into the rotating offices that way, but what about all the other infrastructure like networks, phone, water (fire sprinklers), heating ducts and so forth....the infrastructure for these connections sounds prohibative....and of course there would be so many of them that they would have to be accessable to repair and maintinance....and how would they be accessed? If every other floor rotated, they could be spread across the entire floor surface....but if each rotated separately.....the only place to make these connections is around the core non-moving center.....which will be used for doors and so forth already.

The energy losses would be huge too since the floors would be separate from each other with air flowing between them as they rotate.....that would mean that heat or cooling that would normally and naturally flow from floor to floor would now be lost to the outside.

My brain hurts just thinking about all the Engineering problems open to solution!

Bigqueue said...

Oh...I know it moves very slowly....but being so large, it might also require more careful consideration of floor loading....not just to keep the lasy susan bearings loaded properly, but to keep the buiding rotationally stable and not out of balance,

I suppose this could be done with some sort of pumped liquid storied in tanks spread around the facility....but this is another "thing" they would have to fit into the design. (which looks to be a very "needy" one to start)