Former oil refinery will be turned into renewal energy park

We’re seeing a lot of recreational places like amusement parks, public spaces, museums, etc that are looking for ways to use renewable sources of energy and to be more eco-friendly. There is also a slowly growing call to turn places that used to be major pollutants into something that can benefit mother nature as well as become places that are useful for the general public. One such place in Italy may soon be turned into a clean energy park in order to reconnect this area with the city and its neighbouring areas.

Designer: Carlo Ratti Associati (CRA)

What used to be an oil refinery in Trieste, Italy may soon become a renewal energy park and become part of a 365,000 square meter reclaimed seafront park that will be open to the public. The six former oil reservoirs in the area will be converted into tanks with water batteries and will be used to power the needs of the park. The tanks are 15 meters tall and have a capacity of 110,000 cubic meters and can turn what was once an inaccessible area into a useful public space.

The tanks will be used to store power by having seawater pumped into them and turning them into potential energy. When the power is actually needed, the stored seawater will then be turned into hydroelectric energy and consequently, they will be pumping water back into the sea. The energy needed for this whole “pumped hydroelectric” plant process uses agrivoltaics or dual-use solar panels. The elevated photovoltaic panels will be located around the urban park.

Aside from the fact that it will turn a former pollutant into an environmentally-friendly place, it will also bring Trieste into a closer relationship with the neighboring municipality of Muggia. There are other spaces like green areas, urban farms, and even an Innovation Park with a biotech research facility included inside. Hopefully we’ll see more projects like this in various cities so they can become more sustainable in the future.

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Zaha Hadid Designs Revolutionary Hydrogen Refueling Station for Sustainable Boating

Zaha Hadid Architects, renowned for pushing the boundaries of architectural design, has recently unveiled a groundbreaking project in collaboration with NatPowerH—a subsidiary of the NatPower group. The NatPowerH Hydrogen Refueling Station is poised to become the world’s first green hydrogen refueling infrastructure, and it’s specifically tailored for Italy’s boating industry. With plans to deploy 100 stations across the Mediterranean in the next six years, this ambitious project aims to address environmental concerns and significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from recreational boats.

Designers: Zaha Hadid Architects and NatPower H

At the helm of this initiative is NatPower H, a pioneering global developer of innovative technologies for the production, storage, and distribution of green hydrogen. The €100 million investment will kickstart the installation of the green hydrogen infrastructure in the summer of 2024, with a vision to establish 100 refueling stations throughout the Mediterranean by 2030.

The NatPowerH Hydrogen Refueling Station spans 50 square meters and stands out for its commitment to harnessing renewable energy sources. Through a combination of wind, solar, and other sustainable technologies, the station generates hydrogen while emitting only water vapor and warm air—making it a trailblazer in eco-friendly hydrogen production.

Zaha Hadid Architects has designed the NatPowerH Hydrogen Refueling Station with a focus on scalability, sustainability, and safety. The modular nature of the station allows it to adapt to diverse locations across the Mediterranean. This adaptability ensures that each refueling station can be customized based on specific location needs, such as seating arrangements, pedestrian turnover, size, and facilities for bike charging.

In terms of construction, the NatPowerH Hydrogen Refueling Station incorporates innovative 3D robotic material placement. This technology enables the creation of fully recyclable, dry-assembled masonry, minimizing construction waste. The design draws inspiration from nature, mimicking the striated structures and fluid geometries inherent in Mediterranean landscapes and marine ecosystems.

The circular construction of the refueling stations aligns with NatPower H’s commitment to circularity and the preservation of marine ecosystems. Through the use of low-carbon concrete generated through geometric design rather than increased material usage, the structural materials required are reduced by up to 50%, without compromising performance.

NatPower H’s green hydrogen infrastructure aims to revolutionize the recreational boating industry by creating a network of sustainable energy hubs in major Italian marinas. The initiative responds to the increasing demand for sustainable vessels in the face of ecological concerns. The establishment of protected marine areas worldwide, prohibiting the use of diesel engines, underscores the industry’s need for ecologically sustainable developments.

Collaborating with Zaha Hadid Architects, NatPower H ensures that the construction of the green hydrogen refueling stations adheres to the highest safety standards. The partnership leverages Zaha Hadid Architects’ expertise in modular systems and adaptable designs, allowing for customized configurations based on the unique requirements of each location.

In a broader strategic move, NatPower H has also partnered with Bluegame, a renowned yacht builder, to provide green hydrogen for hydrogen-powered chase boats participating in the upcoming 37th America’s Cup. This collaboration exemplifies the potential benefits of establishing and distributing green hydrogen in the rapidly growing sustainable boating market.

The NatPowerH Hydrogen Refueling Station, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, represents a landmark project in the transition towards sustainable marine transportation. With its innovative design, commitment to circular construction, and strategic partnerships, this project is set to redefine the future of green hydrogen infrastructure in the recreational boating industry, paving the way for a more eco-friendly and sustainable maritime sector.

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Tree with Solar Panels and Wind Turbines gives Nature-Inspired Clean Energy

In the quest for sustainable energy solutions, New World Wind has unveiled its revolutionary Aeroleaf Hybrid technology—a micro-wind turbine shaped like a tree, combining the forces of wind and solar energy to provide a clean and unlimited power source. This innovative approach not only meets the growing demand for electricity but also addresses environmental concerns associated with traditional energy production methods.

Designer: New World Wind

The conventional methods of electricity production, often reliant on burning fossil fuels, contribute to environmental degradation and climate change. New World Wind’s Aeroleaf Hybrid offers a compelling alternative by seamlessly integrating wind and solar power. The tree-shaped turbines are equipped with rotating leaves that capture wind energy, complemented by solar panels at the base, ensuring a continuous and efficient energy production process.

New World Wind draws inspiration from the beauty of nature, ensuring that the Aeroleaf Hybrid blends harmoniously with both urban and green landscapes. Unlike conventional wind turbines and solar panels, these tree-shaped energy generators appear as if they naturally grew in their surroundings. This unique design feature allows for a more aesthetically pleasing integration into various environments.

New World Wind’s commitment to green energy is evident in its global installations. The first Aeroleaf Hybrid, welcomed in Birmingham, UK, stands tall on a hill, showcasing its ability to harness wind and solar power in unison. The collaboration with Tom Tits Experiment, a science museum in Sweden, further emphasizes the technology’s versatility and its potential to power significant institutions with clean electricity.

A variant of the Aeroleaf Hybrid without Solar Panels

Recognizing the diverse energy needs of consumers, New World Wind offers three variations of the Aeroleaf Hybrid—Wind Tree, Wind Palm, and Wind Bush. The Wind Tree, with its numerous rotating leaves, is suitable for larger spaces and can even serve as a multifunctional lamp post or charging station for electric vehicles. The Wind Palm and Wind Bush cater to different scales, providing flexibility for installation in various settings, from public gardens to smaller neighborhoods.

New World Wind’s Aeroleaf (Hybrid) technology is based on a patented micro-wind turbine with a leaf-shaped double blade and a vertical axis. This synchronous micro-generator with permanent magnets allows for installation in diverse locations, including rooftops, terraces, pylons, and low-wind areas. The technology, with a single Aeroleaf generating a minimum of 300 watts, has already been deployed in 130 locations worldwide, spanning countries like Spain, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, Mexico, Portugal, Nigeria, France, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States.

Apart from its functional benefits, the Aeroleaf Hybrid also offers a customizable experience. Consumers can choose from various color options, allowing the turbines to seamlessly integrate with their surroundings. This level of personalization enhances the technology’s appeal and further encourages the adoption of green energy solutions.

By mimicking the elegance of nature, this technology not only provides a sustainable energy source but also exemplifies the potential for beauty and functionality to coexist in our pursuit of a greener tomorrow.

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All-natural sustainable washing machine uses river currents to to wash your clothes

It doesn’t need extra water cycles, and it runs entirely without electricity. Meet the Bamboo Washing Machine, a cleverly low-tech appliance that washes your clothes efficiently with zero wastage and emissions. A winner of the Red Dot Design Concept Award, the machine is made entirely from bamboo wood, and plugs right into a shallow riverbed, using river currents to turn the machine’s drum. The water flowing through the machine helps wash dirt off the clothes too, giving you an entirely automated device that runs entirely on its own, using the powers of nature and human ingenuity!

Designer: Dalian Minzu University along with Tangshan Shangjiu Industrial Design Center

“Bamboo Washing Machine is a simpler version of a traditional vortex or top-loading washing machine”, say the designers, students at the Dalian Minzu University in China. The analog machine was designed for rural communities to help automate a task and free up their time without needing the capital to buy a washing machine or requiring an electric grid to power it. There are two components to each machine, the outer body itself, which stays fixed in the ground, and the internal drum, which detaches and can be used as a basket to carry clothes from the home to the machine and back. Each family in the community possesses their own drum, which they use to carry the clothes around. Every part of the machine is made from bamboo, which is easy to grow, biodegradable, and can be repaired or replaced with zero plastic or metal waste (unlike your average washing machine). The machine can be used at any time of the day and all year round too, although water levels during the rain or drought may have an effect on usage.

The Bamboo Washing Machine is a Best Of Best Winner of the Red Dot Design Concept Award for the year 2020.

The Red Dot Awards: Design Concept is now accepting entries for its 2023 edition. Click here to participate or visit the Red Dot Awards website to learn more. Early Submission Phase ends on January 18th, 2023.

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This floating wave energy converter system can withstand extreme ocean conditions

We need all the help we can get when it comes to harnessing energy the natural way. We’ve seen the effects of nuclear, fossil, and other sources on the earth even as we continue to consume vast amounts of energy. So developing better renewable sources like wind, solar, hydro, and geothermal among others should be a priority. Wave energy is another source that has seen growth over the years and we’re seeing various improvements on devices over the years.

Designer: Oscilla Power

The Triton wave energy converter (WEC) is a platform that floats on the ocean and is able to convert the motion of the waves into electricity. It has a submerged reaction ring that anchors it to the ocean floor through drivetrains. The idea is to come up with something that is large-scale but still keep it at low cost so that more companies and communities will be able to avail of this kind of device to harness renewable energy and use it to power their production and operations. It has self-deployment and self-recovery functions so it’s easy to be deployed and “installed” in the area.

This platform is designed to have multi-point absorption and be able to get energy from all kinds of movement in the ocean whether it’s heave, pitch, surge, roll, and yaw. They used a geometrically optimized flat surface and connected it to round, heavy plate through the use of flexible cables. They are also using three hydrostatic and hydraulic drivetrains to manage the power flows and give off a more stable and consistent power flow, solving one of the biggest challenges faced with wave energy devices.

The Triton is also engineered to withstand the extreme ocean conditions that it will mostly encounter in places where there is the highest energy concentration. When weather conditions become extreme, the system is detuned as water ballasts are added so that motions will be reduced, buoyancy lowered, and maximum load is limited. When the waves are extremely strong, the system will be lowered and submerged into the water completely. But even in either conditions, it will still be able to generate power.

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Spine-like floating platform harnesses water wave energy

As the world continues to consume vast amounts of energy, there are good people out there who are also trying to find more sustainable ways of harnessing energy and using them for our various needs. The ideal way is of course to use natural resources without necessarily depleting them and to also use materials and methods that have lesser carbon footprint than the ones that nuclear and fossil energy use. We’ve seen renewable sources like wind, solar, geothermal, and hydropower and we continue to see more alternatives being created.

Designer: Sea Wave Energy Limited (SWEL)

This UK and Cyprus-based company called SWEL are developing a pretty unique way to harness energy from waves. They call their concept design for a Wave Energy Converter (WEC) the Waveline Magnet. Basically it’s a device you place on the water that will convert the waves into power levels and they do it in a more affordable and low-maintenance way compared to other current technologies that we have right now. It looks like a yellow spine floating on the water and that is the way that they designed it to be.

It’s actually made up of several floating platforms and they are put together through a central power system that looks like a spine. They designed it to be lightweight and modular but also sturdy enough to be able to survive any water environment, even oceans with strong waves. People can actually ride on it although it’s not really meant to be a surfing device or anything like that. It is able to regulate how much energy will be extracted from the wave so it will not cause any disruption in the water eco-system should there be any. It also has a seamless interaction with the waves.

The design is simple enough and is also meant to be easily repaired and maintained. It’s made up of manageable recyclable materials like reinforced plastic and so it really adds to the sustainability of the device. A single WEC can produce 100 MW of energy when they were field-testing it. Of course the bigger the wave power, the more energy they can harness from it. They’ve already tested it in controlled environments and in the open waters. After more tests, they will soon commercialize the technology and then mass produce it for companies and consumers who will want to try out this sustainable technology.

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This wind-powered bicycle light is set to transform the way we utilize sustainable, reusable energy!

Designed to be the world’s first wind-powered bicycle light, Vento was created to reinvent the ways we use and produce energy.

In recent years, we’ve had our sights set on renewable energy sources. From tidal turbines that can generate electricity for thousands of homes to small-scale green roofs that host solar panels to power up bus stops, renewable energy is the future and designers are taking note. Aimed to be the world’s first bicycle light to use wind energy for power, Vento from student designer Andy Bestenheider is currently in its prototyping phase, gearing up for a working model by the end of summer 2021.

Inspired by his desire “to reinvent the ways we use and produce energy,” on small-scale levels, Vento is not merely a bicycle light, as Bestenheider describes, but “a power plant, a way to question energy consumption, and an object to connect like-minded individuals. Vento is a mindset.” Composed of four main components, Vento is like a miniature wind turbine. Constructed from recycled plexiglass and aluminum, Vento’s microturbine harvests wind energy while the bicycle is in motion. Then, the energy is converted into electricity through electromagnetic induction that takes place in the turbine’s generator. The bicycle light’s battery then stores this energy and the LED bulb generates light. While moving in your bike, the wind is always whipping past you, so the light will always work when needed. Positioned conveniently right between the handlebars, Vento also features on/off and blinking switches for day use.

Following some sketching and multiple ideations, Bestenheider then moved onto 3D-print modeling before working towards a final working prototype.

In close collaboration with a fellow engineering student, Bestenheider conducted interviews with cyclists and friends to understand the feasibility of Vento. After finalizing a 3D-printed model, Bestenheider and his engineer friend worked together to strike a balance between efficiency, cost, and durability, reaching a final product that equips the light with a working circuit with a twice as large turbine. Built to be entirely self-sufficient, Vento was designed to start the conversation around renewable energy sourcing.

Designer: Andy Bestenheider

This portable microgrid in a box combines human and solar energy, creating a source of renewable energy!

I’m all for alternative sources of energy, but a portable microgrid in a box, that combines human and solar energy? That’s the first I’ve heard of it, but that’s what mySUN promises to be!

If there’s one thing that COVID -19 has taught us, it’s that we cannot take life as we know it, and our world for granted. Because things can change within seconds, and without any warning. Protecting, preserving, and taking the utmost care of Mother Earth should be our number one priority now. And one way of doing this is taking climate change seriously, and truly combating it! WZMH Architects is invested in creating smart energy solutions to face climate change head-on, and reduce the need for fossil fuels. One of their super cool inventions is mySUN! It’s basically a microgrid in a little box, run on a bike! WZMH Architects teamed up with Ryerson University to create this “personal green energy-producing machine”. mySUN can be used to power and support almost everything – from LED lighting to mobile devices, and even air conditioning units.

This sustainable energy producer basically depends upon a plug-and-play system. The system works perfectly with WZHM Architects’ Sunrider bike (a solar bike). You connect mySUN to the bike, and generate your energy, as you ride the bike! The energy is created via biomechanical power and is even stored. Since an average person generates almost 100 to 150 watts of power while riding a stationary bike, by combining mySUN to the Sunrider bike, you can produce enough energy to power the lights of a 300-square-foot space for a whole day! How cool is that? It’s the perfect combination of human and solar energy!

The portable voltage DC box is small enough to fit into the walls of an apartment.  Zenon Radewych, Principal at WZMH said, “The mySUN can be integrated into a community of buildings that are DC-based, all feeding from the same DC microgrid. Green energy is then created through the use of solar panels, wind turbines, or energy bikes, and is stored in battery packs that are part of mySUN.”

Imagine the potential of such a creation! mySUN could be used to power entire apartment complexes and buildings, without having to set up complicated and huge electrical plants. There would be no need for copper wiring in buildings as well! Hundreds of mySUNs could be set up to generate sustainable energy and power whole communities.

Inventions like mySUN can drastically reduce our carbon footprint and provide alternative sources of energy that are renewable and economical. In a world that is truly trying to become more sustainable and greener, innovations like mySUN are a Godsend!

Designer: WZMH Architects

IKEA is set to sell renewable power from their wind + solar parks to become climate positive by 2030!

IKEA, the world’s biggest affordable furniture brand, has announced plans to sell renewable energy to households, starting in September with Sweden’s home market.

As part of their aim in becoming “climate positive” by 2030, Ingka Group, the owner of the most IKEA stores worldwide, says Swedish households will be able to purchase renewable electricity from the brand’s own solar and wind parks for IKEA-friendly prices.

Svea Solar, a solar panel production and installation company, produces IKEA’s solar panels and will buy the renewable electricity on the Nordic power exchange Nord Pool to then resell that to IKEA customers without surcharge. Similar to other utility bills, households that purchase IKEA’s renewable solar energy will commit to a fixed monthly fee in addition to a variable rate that will depend on each household’s energy consumption. The buyers of IKEA’s renewable energy will be granted access to an app that allows them to not only track their own energy production and consumption but also sell back surplus electricity to IKEA.

The brand’s 2030 “climate positive” initiative aims to cut the global company’s greenhouse gas emissions by more than what is generated from IKEA’s entire value chain, spanning from the factories’ production lines to the disposal of furniture. Speaking on how selling renewable energy will help IKEA achieve their 2030 goal, head of sustainability at IKEA Sweden, Jonas Carlehed says,

“We want to make electricity from sustainable sources more accessible and affordable for all. IKEA wants to build the biggest renewable energy movement together with co-workers, customers, and partners around the world, to help tackle climate change together.”

Designer: IKEA

Orbital Marine Power’s latest renewable energy project is a tidal turbine that can provide electricity for 2,000 homes!

Tidal turbines are some of the most efficient renewable energy producers, offering predictability, reliability, and low-cost upkeep (albeit following an expensive construction period). Harnessed by free-floating turbines or ones contained within barrages, tidal energy produces power from ocean surges during the rise and fall of tides. Orbital Marine Power, a renewable technology company, recently launched their very own tidal turbine called O2 off the coast of Orkney, Scotland.

O2 is a 74-meter, free-floating, 2MW tidal turbine that will be able to provide sustainable, renewable energy for the next fifteen years with the potential to fulfill an annual electricity quota for around 2,000 homes across the UK. Stationed in the Orkney Isles, O2’s location was specifically chosen for the powerful tidal currents resulting from the confluence of the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea. In fact, O2 is anchored in the Fall of Warness, a location known for its high-tidal energy, reaching tidal flow velocities of 3 m/s, or around six knots. Taking advantage of the sea’s perpetual tidal energy, Orbital Marine Power cabled O2 to one of Orkney’s onshore electricity networks to begin collecting and generating renewable energy. In building O2, Orbital Marine Power equipped the vessel with a two-bladed pitching hub, 1 MW nacelle, and a 20m rotor to allow for bidirectional navigation and optimize tidal flow.

Orbital Marine Power is a privately held company that found support in public lenders and various green initiatives from the Scottish government and E.U. to help fund O2’s launch. Michael Matheson, a supporter of O2 and cabinet secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport notes, “With our abundant natural resources, expertise and ambition, Scotland is ideally placed to harness the enormous global market for marine energy whilst helping deliver a net-zero economy…The deployment of Orbital Marine Power’s O2, the world’s most powerful tidal turbine, is a proud moment for Scotland and a significant milestone in our journey to net-zero.”

Designer: Orbital Marine Power

O2 has the potential to generate enough power for 2,000 homes across the UK.

Following a lengthy and expensive construction process, O2 was built to harness energy from tides and produce power.

The 74-meter long turbine features a two-bladed pitching hub, 1 MW nacelle, and a 20m rotor.

Dynamic power cable connections are located on both ends of the turbine, connecting it to onshore electricity networks.

O2 also comes complete with boarding and loading decks so researchers can delve into the science behind acquiring tidal power.

The tidal turbine is located in the Fall of Warness, a high-tidal energy environment resulting from the confluence of the Atlantic Ocean and the North Sea.

Orkney’s coast is known for high tidal action.