Noise from wind turbine blades, inadvertent bat and bird kills and even the way wind turbines look have made installing them anything but a breeze.
New York design firm Atelier DNA has an alternative concept that ditches blades in favor of stalks.
Resembling thin cattails, the Windstalks generate electricity when the wind sets them waving. The designers came up with the idea for the planned city Masdar, a 2.3-square-mile, automobile-free area being built outside of Abu Dhabi. Atelier DNA’s “Windstalk” project came in second in the Land Art Generator competition a contest sponsored by Madsar to identify the best work of art that generates renewable energy from a pool of international submissions.
The proposed design calls for 1,203 “stalks,” each 180-feet high with concrete bases that are between about 33- and 66-feet wide. The carbon-fiber stalks, reinforced with resin, are about a foot wide at the base tapering to about 2 inches at the top. Each stalk will contain alternating layers of electrodes and ceramic discs made from piezoelectric material, which generates a current when put under pressure. In the case of the stalks, the discs will compress as they sway in the wind, creating a charge.
“The idea came from trying to find kinetic models in nature that could be tapped to produce energy,” explained Atelier DNA founding partner Darío Núñez-Ameni.
In the proposal for Masdar, the Windstalk wind farm spans 280,000 square feet. Based on rough estimates, said Núñez-Ameni the output would be comparable to that of a conventional wind farm covering the same area.
“Our system is very efficient in that there is no friction loss associated with more mechanical systems such as conventional wind turbines,” he said.