The Energy Duck is a submission to the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) 2014, this year held in Copenhagen, Denmark. Designed by the London-based team of Hareth Pochee, Adam Khan, Louis Leger, and Patrick Fryer, the iconic and engaging public artwork proposal is a renewable energy generator and storehouse, an interactive and educative tourist destination, and a celebration of local wildlife.
Visitors to the sculpture would be able to move around inside the duck through an enormous honeycomb mesh of lightweight steel. Above would be the pattern of a mesh of PV panels in silhouette, backlit by light streaming in through the gaps. Below, visitors would be able to see the sea water rising and falling within the pressure storage tanks.
At night the duck would be lit with very low power LED lamps that change color, with the color pattern undulating in a rhythm proportional to the output of the hydro turbines.
The appealing, 12-storey high sculpture is proposed to float in the waters of the city’s harbor. It would be constructed from a lightweight steel frame, with very lightweight steel supporting a skin of photovoltaic panels and dummy panels. Some of the electricity generated by the low-cost, off-the-shelf PV panels would be stored in the form of gravitational potential energy via water pressure.
Energy is stored by virtue of the difference in water heights inside and outside the duck. The team states: “At night, when there is no solar radiation, the water pressure can be released through hydro turbines within the duck’s belly providing renewable electricity at all times. The floating height of the duck is an indicator of the amount of city-wide energy use relative to the renewable generation.”
PV panels are only applied to the areas that receive a good amount of solar radiation (which is most of the duck’s upper half). The remainder of the duck is clad with cheap, lightweight dummy panels, which could be made from recycled plastic. Modelling shows that even with the panels orientated 'duckwise,' the energy yield is 75 percent of that of a fully optimized solar farm on the same site. The project is adaptable and flexible and is not reliant on any particular proprietary brand of photovoltaic panels.
Of their submission the team states: “Often the prospective negative environmental effects of climate change, brought about by excessive CO2 emissions can seem a removed and distant issue. Energy Duck frames the issue of climate change, ecology and the importance of renewable energy in a local context.”