Gallery: VolcanElectric Mask: Skyscraper Protects Cities from Eruptions...

The dome was inspired by the way the body works and takes specific design cues from the nervous system as well as skin.
The dome was inspired by the way the body works and takes specific design cues from the nervous system as well as skin.

VolcanElectric Mask is a design that could harness the untapped power of volcanoes to generate electricity and minimize damage and destruction from eruptions. Designed by Jing Hao, Zhanou Zhang, Xingyue Chen, Jiangyue Han, and Shuo Zhou from China, the proposal calls for a giant dome to cover the volcano, which works as a shield to prevent ash or tephra from choking up the air. This proposal for their prototype was designed for the Popocatepetl Volcano, which is 70 km from Mexico City and is one of the ten most active volcanoes in the developed world. With 500,000 people living within 10 to 30 km from its crater, the volcano has the potential to cause considerable damage, but also to provide many with a source of renewable power.

The dome was inspired by the way the body works and takes specific design cues from the nervous system as well as skin. Hanging inside the dome are a series of screw-like tentacles that burrow into the volcano to monitor temperatures, predict eruptions and absorb CO2, which is then used to create dry ice. When the volcano is calm, the tentacles work to generate electricity from steam, which is created when collected rain water comes into contact with lava. During this period of calm, the area is open to tourists for hiking, sight seeing and other exhibitions.

When an eruption is expected, the dome closes down in order to contain the tephra and lava and keep it from affecting nearby towns. Dry ice is expelled to protect the tentacles from damage and cool the lava. After the eruption is over the tephra is collected by the dome and shipped off for use in industrial processes. Research facilities within the dome provide a close up view of the volcano in action and help scientists improve prediction and energy generation through geothermal and volcanic activity.

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  1. Manuel Frias-Alcaraz April 26, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    Available at there is document entitled Mexico City Valley. The Popocatepetl Volcano both, in English and Spanish. It includes schematics, figures and basic tables.

    The document talks about the potential to extract and channel some of the vast geo-thermal energy expelled by the Popocatepetl Volcano. By doing so, there would be a possibility to replace the usage of large volumes of hydrocarbons currently consumed by the electric and oil industries in Mexico. It would also represent an alternate energy source, not to mention the innovation needed in order to set up extracting wells at an incline directed at the volcanic deposits.

  2. bthinker March 16, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    I suggested this like 10 years ago, but since have learned how much of a function volcanos play in working as the planets pores of sorts. You need to release the gas at the least if you’re going to bottle the heat. I remember them talking about planting deep pillars to geothermal capture off magma pockets. I can’t say I want these wide spread or castrating to the natural cycle, but in some spots they will reap some major benefits.

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