Whether you love or loathe the look of reaching wind turbines in an open field, you’ll probably be at least a little impressed by design that completely re-imagines what a wind harnessing structure can be. Looking at its most recent concept photos alone, you may think it’s a piece of designer architecture used for a technology expo or as a futuristic entertainment venue, but it will be much more than either.
The Dutch Wind Wheel certainly is an ambitious and impressive looking structure, and there’s even more to this design than meets the eye.
Sun, Wind And Water In One
Conceived and designed by a group of Rotterdam-based companies, the Dutch Wind Wheel has been called the windmill for the 21st century. In addition to drawing tourists, residents, businesses, and structural design enthusiasts, the Wind Wheel is meant to become a green-energy generating powerhouse.
It will combine solar panels, rainwater capture, and biogas creation features, but most notably, it will be designed to harness energy from the wind in a manner that’s quite different from conventional wind turbines.
Taking The Drawbacks Out Of Wind Power
Wind turbines are a means of generating sustainable energy, but their drawbacks can include noise pollution, shadow flickering, and harm to birds when in operation. The Dutch Wind Wheel potentially eliminates these. Part of its 570-foot structure is an electrostatic wind-energy converter that will use air currents, water and electric fields to generate an electric current.
While a tabletop prototype is only able to demonstrate the function on a very small scale–just 12.5 milliwatts–the designers are working to advance the technology so the full sized structure will be able to produce 1 megawatt of electricity and essentially power and pay for itself in just ten years.
Infrastructure That Generates Energy
It’s hoped that the Dutch Wind Wheel will do more than just feed the energy needs of modern infrastructure, but will become a multifaceted part of it. There are currently plans for the structure to include a restaurant, a seven-story hotel, over 70 apartments, and office spaces.
Its glass exterior will allow for sweeping views of Rotterdam, and its outer ring will function as a huge Ferris wheel with 40 glass cabins that will actually descend below the waters of the canal..
A Technology For Global Skylines?
Whether the Dutch Wind Wheel will be a success and performs as projected won’t be determined until the project is completed in the early 2020s. Provided it is, it could launch a series of similar structural projects that become part of skylines in cities all over the world.
Do you think this building could potentially change the way we think of energy generation and spaces in which we live, work, and play? What do you think life be like inside a futuristic wind powered machine? Share your thoughts on this story in the comments.