(Left) Söder Torn on Södermalm in Stockholm (Right) Concept render of the same building featuring (via Belatchew.com)
It may look like a huge scrub-brush but the design of a new proposal by architect firm Belatchew Arkitekter would actually harness wind energy instead of washing giant pots and pans. The building, known as Soder Torn was initially supposed to be 40 floors high but ended up reaching only 24 because of compromises with the buildings original architect Henning Larson. Soder Torn is currently serving as an apartment complex, however Belatchew Arkitekter wants to build up the building to the proposed original height by adding 16 additional floors and outfit the high-rise with a rather unique wind collection system. The design would place thousands of straws all over the buildings frame and would generate electricity using piezoelectric technology as the wind moves the straws. According to Belatchew, not only would the building provide electrical energy it would also be perceived as moving making for a less static object. Transitioning to nighttime would give the building extra-added appeal by being lit up with flows of changing colors. The straws themselves would be made of a composite material with piezoelectric properties (crystal deformation) that could generate a large amount of energy through very little movement. Unlike traditional wind-turbines the straws are relatively quiet (no they are not hollow so there will be no whistling sounds) and are able to generate electricity even when there is only a slight breeze making them more efficient over their bladed counterparts.
In addition to providing clean energy the building will feature, an observation deck outfitted with a restaurant as well as a ‘look out’ level positioned at the very top of the building that would give onlookers an unprecedented view of Stockholm. While the piezoelectric straw design is rather unique in the area of wind harvesting, it certainly isn’t new when it comes to concept as other designers have similar ideas. Students from Cornell University have come up with an interesting conceptual design for harvesting wind energy with their ‘Piezo-Leaf Generator’ which outfits an artificial tree with leaf-like blades (made from Polyvinylidene Fluoride) that generate electricity when they flap back and forth in the wind. Another interesting device, designed by Cornell University professor Francis Moon, vibrates when exposed to wind to create electricity. Called ‘Vibro-Wind’, the device uses a system of pads (25 in total) laid out in a grid pattern that vibrate when wind passes through them. The vibration of the pad is then transferred to piezoelectric cells that turn the vibration into a small amount of electrical energy. That energy is multiplied when more pads are used in the systems array. The Vibro-Wind can be used on building facades, or just about anywhere, to harvest wind energy with a relatively small impact when compared to turbines. Surely using the relatively new dynamic of utilizing piezoelectric technology for wind harvesting can be refined to be more efficient in the near future, either which could offset, or at the very least compliment, the power generated through wind turbines.
See more news at: