Richard

100% DETAIL: Alternative Energy - Wind and Sun, 100% Design, Alternative Energy, Renewable energy focus at 100% Design

During the Alternative Energies seminar as part of 100% Design, we caught up with two of the leading experts within the commercial field of alternative energy. Robert Webb from Quiet Revolution / XC02 and Christoph Behling from Solarlab Research + Design were explaining their design philosophies, latest projects and recent conquests in the world of wind and sun powered energy.


100% DETAIL: Alternative Energy - Wind and Sun, 100% Design, Alternative Energy, Renewable energy focus at 100% Design

Robert Webb is co-founder of XC02 who are a design and engineering consultancy dedicated to reducing carbon emissions through renewable energy, low carbon technology and appropriate business strategy. In this case, Robert was talking about one of their main products which is the Quiet Revolution helical wind turbine.

40% of Europe’s wind is located within the UK and wind technology is one of the most cost effective alternative energy sources. One problem with wind technology is the large space which traditional bladed turbines take up. Robert and his team within Quiet Revolution have developed a helical wind turbine which is fully scalable to various sizes and designed specifically for urban spaces and buildings. The efficiency of the current turbines has been greatly increased due to wind tunnel testing, advances in software control and tweaking the physical design. Through complex computational fluid dynamics buildings can be assessed with local wind data and the turbines can be allocated and designed within the spaces with the highest wind speed.

Although the payback for this technology is around 18 years, as traditional energy prices increase, they will become more competitive. It is hoped that larger and more integrated turbines can be designed to provide significant power for entire buildings. Watch out for future developments!

Christoph Behling is the founder of Solarlab Research + Design. His fascination with the technology came from 10 years ago when he was mesmerised by the butterfly like appearance of a solar cell. Rather than take it upon himself to develop the technology for solar products and vehicles, Christoph saw the need to inspire people with solar technology. Boats and other technology were already being developed but these were ugly.

The most recent project designed by Christoph and his team is the Solar Shuttle which was launched just over a year ago on the Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park, London. The boat is powered by light and designed with light in mind. The beauty of the boat is intended to inspire people and stimulate change. Although solar power has a similar downfall as wind energy with a long payback period, increasing the value of a product through a unique and beautiful design is one way to increase the acceptance of this technology for commercial applications.

Future projects on the horizon for Solarlab include Olympic and Commuter boats for the River Thames, solar powered rickshaws and a possible solar powered mosque.

The future of alternative energy sources is in the hands of people like Robert and Christoph and it is up to them to inspire us and provide unique solutions for the future.

+ XC02
+ Solarlab Research + Design

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5 Comments

  1. edmon umple October 11, 2007 at 3:02 am

    where in the third world do I find a thirty foot steel pole and half a cubic yard of concrete? a handy light duty crane? Power management systems that are in no way connected to the grid? the over arching problem with all of these new generating systems is that most people know fundamentally very little about the nature of electricity. most americans cannot even give you a remotely accurate definition of what it is .the only thing people care to know is how to exploit it.

  2. Richard September 27, 2007 at 6:11 pm

    I think it has taken a long time because of the complexity of the task involved. It sounds like XC02 have been developing this product over a number of years and are still perfecting it. When they are designing for integration or complimentation with a building or the environment they have to make sure that the product is positioned correctly to achieve the maximum wind speed.

    Aside from the design and integration, it is important when buying a product like this to understand the payback period. The initial setup cost verses traditional energy costs. At the moment, the payback period for one of these is about 18 years!!!

  3. Shane September 25, 2007 at 11:27 am

    For years I have seen many pretty drawings of vertical turbines but never see any for sale. I’m tired of the hype and ready to see them for sale – what is taking so long?

  4. artsWOM September 25, 2007 at 9:36 am

    [...] but the pleasing curves will pacify those who previously eschewed the three-bladed behemoths. A practical design, pleasing on the eye, and one which will provide much needed renewable energy in the future. Why [...]

  5. Tom September 25, 2007 at 7:21 am

    I really like the designs for the wind turbines, and I think that they are a big step towards solving the renewable energy problem. Maybe now people will stop whining about turbines spoiling the environment. I’ve written about it at http://www.artswom.co.uk

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