Wind Turbine And Apartments In The Same Building

Wind Turbine And Apartments In The Same Building

How cool would it be to tell people you live inside of a wind turbine? Designed for the port city of Rotterdam, the Dutch "Windwheel" is a concept for a sustainable landmark that would be able to house 72 apartments within a circular steel and glass frame, while also serving as a silent, motionless wind turbine. In addition to harvesting energy from the wind, the structure would be equipped with facilities to capture rainwater, recycle tap water and also produce biogas from the residents' organic waste.

The "Windwheel" is composed of two rings built on an underground foundation and surrounded by wetlands so as to give the structure the appearance of floating. The outer ring houses 40 rotating cabins to provide visitors with impressive views of Rotterdam-much as the London Eye does in the UK. The inner ring houses 72 apartments, 160 hotel rooms, and commercial outlets and is topped off with a restaurant.

Perhaps the most striking detail of the 174 meter tall "Windwheel", other than its appearance, is the turbine that fills the inner ring of the building. The electrostatic wind energy converter (EWICON) is a technology that was developed at TU Delft and converts wind energy with a framework of steel tubes into electricity without moving mechanical parts. This means no noise and much easier maintenance. Within the interior of the massive ringed structure would be a set of steel tubes ringed with electrodes, sort of like a tennis racket. Sprayers would then emit charged water particles, and electricity would be generated when the wind pushes these particles past the electrodes.

According to architect Duzan Doepel of Doepel Strijkers, the firm designing the project, the idea is to create an icon like the London Eye that will both attract tourists and showcase cutting-edge technology. He expects they may be able to finish the structure within five to six years, and estimates suggest it may attract up to 1.5 million visitors a year.

The proposed "Windwheel" is also equipped with solar PVs and a climactic facade to make the best use of natural resources. The building's water usage is also carefully managed, with rainwater captured atop the structure, and tap water fed into the wetlands that surround the "Windwheel". Furthermore, biogas is also produced from the residents' waste.