Visitors to the recent Chelsea Flower Show in London were no doubt pleasantly surprised to stumble across the London Urban Oasis, a solar-powered urban art installation showcasing an array of clean energy and other green innovations in a large-scale artistic form. The 10-meter tall glass and steel structure, designed by Laurie Chetwood, can only be described as a marvel of sculpture, technology and engineering, displaying a veritable cornucopia of green and environmental technologies, from solar and wind power to rain catchment systems.
During the day the flower opens and closes to reveal functioning photovoltaic cells in its “branches.” The central trunk of the oasis provides for a thermal chimney, which powers the wind turbine inside to generate even more energy and cool the area near the installation. In order to store the power obtained from the sun and the wind, it uses a fuel cell system, the first one used on an installation of this type. As if that wasn’t enough, it also catches rainwater to cool people and provide irrigation water.