The Dutch Windwheel
The Dutch Windwheel, a pioneering innovation, is a 174 metre tall wind mill, hotel, apartment complex and tourist attraction. An initiative by the Dutch Windwheel Corporation, the wind turbine does not use the conventional technology and instead uses EWICON, a technology developed by Delft University, to produce electricity.
As the name suggests, the design looks like a wheel and consists of two three-dimensional rings, one within the other. The materials used will be steel and glass. The proposed location is the port city of Rotterdam where the Windwheel will be built partially submerged in water, made to appear as if it is floating. The appearance of the Windwheel is electrifying and innovative and like the designers intended, “iconic”.
It is a perfect example of how technology has been used to progress architecture and vice-versa. It is being developed as an icon for the economically emerging Netherlands and to become financially viable it houses an apartment building. The outer ring has 40 cabins that rotate on a rail system. The inner ring is the windmill and within it are apartments, a hotel, a restaurant, a sky lobby and commercial functions.
The Windwheel is intended towards advancing sustainable technologies, renewable energy as well as the economy. Electrostatic WInd energy CONverter (EWICON) is only one of the technologies it is meant to develop. Developed by the Delft University of Technology along with Wageningen University, the technology directly converts wind energy to electrical energy. It does not require for the system to move mechanically as is in a conventional wind mill. Rather, “The method is based on transporting electrically charged particles against the direction of an electric field by the wind and accumulating them at a collector.” The tubes within the interior ring are electrodes that will release into the air through nozzles, charged particles in the form of water droplets in a process called “electrospraying”.
The Windwheel targets crucial problems because of which wind energy is not widely accepted or commonly used. There will be no noise pollution, no shadows, and because the parts do not move it will result in decreased wear and tear and low maintenance. It will be developed from materials available in Rotterdam and will have the ability to be disassembled and reused.
Everything from the exterior to the interior has been envisaged as consequential to the entire project. The interior spaces will embody technology in the form of 3D interactive cinema, digital information layer in the cabins as well as smart walls. The skin itself will become a smart wall in parts- glass panels having virtual layers of information.
All of this is in an effort to make the Dutch Windwheel a tourist attraction. From the 40 cabins in the outer ring, one can view the entire city of Rotterdam, only enhanced by the fact that the area is a flatland. The cities of Delft, Hague and Dordrecht can also be seen. “The Unesco World Heritage of Kinderdijk glimmers to the east.”
Source: Dutch Windwheel
By: Sahiba Gulati