The Dutch Windwheel is a giant circular wind energy converter that houses apartments, hotels, restaurant and a giant coaster ride – a concept of self-sustained iconic structure, which, for majority portion of its energy requirements, depends on wind energy and, utilizes solar, biogas and rainwater as other sources to supplement for its basic amenities.
Though the wind turbines are a pretty good renewable energy source, due to concerns like noise, shadow, and the disturbance caused due to fierceness in their rotation, etc., they were never encouraged in urban areas. But a technology called electrostatic wind energy converter (EWICON), developed by TU Delft (Delft University of Technology) a few years ago, solved all these wind turbine associated problems. The Dutch Windwheel also adopted the same technology.
While the normal wind turbines convert kinetic energy of the wind to mechanical energy of turbines and then to electric energy using a generator, EWICON converts kinetic energy directly into electric energy by using the wind’s potential of moving charged water droplets against the direction of an electric field.
The 174 m tall Windwheel, composed of two rings, is built on an underground foundation in the midst of wetlands to give it a floating appearance. While the outer ring, composed of 40 rotating cabins, gives a spectacular view of the Rotterdam, the inner ring accommodates 72 apartments, 160 hotel rooms, commercial outlets and a panoramic restaurant.
Now here’s the detail why it is called the Windwheel – because of its wind turbine, a bladeless wind converter which is a framework of steel tubes, that fills the otherwise hollow space inside the structure’s inner ring.
“We wanted to combine a big attraction for Rotterdam with a state-of-the-art sustainable concept,” a Windwheel representative, Lennart Graaffd told Gizmag.
The structure also employs solar photovoltaic panels for the generation of electricity, converts waste to biogas and has a provision to collect, filter and use the rain water. “The Dutch Windwheel Corporation says the building itself is designed to be built with locally-sourced materials, and in such a way as it could ultimately be disassembled and re-used elsewhere.” Gizmag reports.
The Dutch Windwheel, which is still in the conceptual state, is being developed by a consortium made up of local companies BLOC, DoepelStrijkers, Meysters and NBTC Holland Marketing.