Tobias Trübenbacher, a design student from Berlin, has created a wind-powered lamp post that uses an integrated wind rotor to generate energy and a motion detection system to create an insect-friendly light spectrum.

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A geometric lamp head with a green, wing-like structure on a white pedestal.

“Light pollution not only has bad health effects on humans, like causing sleep disorders, depression, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and cancer, but has also a serious impact on flora and fauna,” said the designer in a press release. “Extinction of species, orientation loss of migratory birds, significant disorder for fish migration, as well as disturbed biorhythms of plants like for instance delayed leaf shedding, are only a fraction of these consequences. It is estimated that currently in Germany alone around 1.2 billion insects die because of street lighting in one single summer night.” Every year, the global artificial light quotient grows by 6%, while 83% of the world’s population already experiences an unnaturally bright night sky.

Related: COVID-19 lockdowns lead to decreasing light pollution

A geometric green street lamp.

Papilio is trying to change this by reducing the ecological footprint of street lamps. The lamp uses an integrated Savonius rotor made of folded sheet metal and connected to a 300-watt generator to produce climate-neutral energy. Thanks to the upgraded technology and the rotor’s diagonal orientation, it can operate no matter which direction the wind blows. The motor works with both vertical wind that occurs naturally and horizontal air streams that come from things like air traffic flow.

A geometric green street lamp.

A rechargeable battery stores the generated electricity for moments when the wind dies down, meaning the Papilio can operate autonomously without the need for underground infrastructure for electricity. The device can even be plugged into an existing power grid to feed extra energy into the network when winds are particularly high. 

Various lamp construction parts arranged on the ground.

The light is emitted in a downward direction below the horizontal to minimize light pollution. An infrared sensor only activates the light when it is needed (for example, when people are walking around under it), but it also uses a light spectrum that has a lower blue component and a warm color temperature to make it less attractive to insects.

A person standing and working on a geometric green lamp.

Papilio gets its name from the Latin word for butterfly, which honors both the physical shape of the product, as well as the protection for nocturnal insects from the negative effects of light pollution that it helps provide. “With PAPILIO, the process of generating energy becomes the central element of the street lamp and anaesthetic play, enriching streets, walkways and city squares — both during the day and at night,” the designer continues. “It is a street lamp for a future worth living in.”

+ Tobias Trübenbacher

Via Dezeen

Images courtesy of Tobias Trübenbacher