There’s nothing like a towering wind turbine to inspire NIMBY sentiment from neighbors and city councils alike. Enter a striking new alternative energy concept by Mexican-born Agustin Otegui, who works with economies of a much smaller scale. He has conceived of a next-gen Nano Vent-Skin that sheathes structures in a shimmering solar weave studded with micro-turbines. The concept takes advantage of a structure’s maximum available surface space, and its modular composition allows it to retrofit our old buildings instead of pouring resources into new ones. Plus, the stunning superstructure incorporates micro-organisms to soak up C02.
In the past we’ve covered approaches to alternative energy that seek to synthesize solar with wind. It’s an exciting area to watch as technology improves and processes are streamlined, and Ostegui’s concept charts some innovative new territory.
The Nano Vent-Skin is a zero-emission material that takes a tri-partite approach towards energy efficiency. First, it soaks up sunlight via a photovoltaic layer, and transfers energy via nano-wires to storage units at the end of each panel. Second, its tiny turbines employ “polarized organisms” to create chemical reactions, generating power each time the turbine makes contact with the structure. Third, the organisms present in the inner skin of each turbine soak up C02.
At the core of the technology is an elaborate system of bio-engineered micro organisms which “have not been genetically altered; they work as a trained colony where each member has a specific task in this symbiotic process.” Ostegui even has plans for the system to be self-healing: “Every panel has a sensor on each corner with a material reservoir. When one of the turbines has a failure or breaks, a signal is sent through the nano-wires to the central system and building material (microorganisms) is sent through the central tube in order to regenerate this area with a self assembly process.”
Ostegui’s NVS may reside at the far end of future-forward thinking for now, but it presents some exciting concepts that may surface as science and technology work together to converge our existing energy systems.