Dubai – David Fisher is hoping to add yet another skyscraper to the mix with his self-sufficient and energy generating Twirling Tower. The 68-story “combination hotel, apartment, and office” would sport floors that each rotate 360-degrees in the span of about 90 minutes, creating a “constantly changing architectural form.” His claims begin to elicit suspicion, however, when a promotional video (seen after the break) for the building claims that it can snag enough wind to not only power the building itself, but to energize ten other similar buildings just like it. [source]
A skyscraper in Dubai is being designed so that it generates all of its energy through renewable means such as wind turbines and solar panels. On top of the tower will be a 200 foot turbine that harnesses the power of the wind, and an array of solar panels on the roof and a series of islands that stretches over 161,459 square feet. The tower will also feature a massive solar shield to protect it from the sun, and vacuum glazed glass that will reduce the amount of heat absorbed from the extreme temperatures (up to 50 degrees C / 122 degrees F), presumably meaning less reliance on traditional air conditioning. Talking of air conditioning, the main system for cooling the air inside the tower uses a convection system which pulls in cold air at the ground level, and sucks it up out of the top of the tower. The air conditioning will use seawater, and underground cooling units lower the temperature inside to 18 degrees C / 64.4 degrees F. This building may be a technological beacon for environmentally friendly skyscrapers, but as a commenter on metaefficient points out, new building designs don’t do much to solve the inefficiency of older buildings in cities. Although that doesn’t mean we can’t imagine what it’d be like to work and live in a sea of glass and metal without feeling slightly bad about it. [source] and [pics]
The BBC has a report on the Europe’s first commercial solar power station. 600 giant mirrors focus the sunlight onto a 40 story white concrete tower where the super-concentrated heat boils water into steam to drive turbines.
I’m remembering the old joke about solar powered torches here, but even though the plant will only work for an hour after sundown, the main power draw in the south of Spain is air-con, and this station pumps out enough daytime juice to power 600 homes, with future expansion to 600,000 (that’s every home in Seville).
It doesn’t get much greener than this, but a side benefit is in the surreal beauty of the place. BBC science correspondent David Shukman paid a visit:
A concrete tower – 40 storeys high – stood bathed in intense white light, a totally bizarre image in the depths of the Andalusian countryside […] In fact, as we found out when we got closer, the rays of sunlight reflected by a field of 600 huge mirrors are so intense they illuminate the water vapour and dust hanging in the air. [source]