Can the power of art help power our homes?
This was the question artist, investor and entrepreneur Joe Doucet posed when he set out to design a wind turbine that could power homes and offices in an urban environment without being a noisy eyesore. Wind turbines are most often associated with open spaces, but Doucet’s aim was to design a flat turbine that could fit seamlessly into a wall, whether in the average American home or alongside a highway. It had to be as attractive as it is functional, so people would enjoy looking at it.
Enter the Wind Turbine Wall – a concept that could potentially revolutionise the energy market. The prototype 25x8-foot grid is more kinetic sculpture than it is machine. Its vertical rods and square panels spin, driving a mini generator that creates electricity. The Wind Turbine wall generates around 10 000 kilowatt-hours of electricity a year – enough to power a typical home with ease. The neutral palette is easy on the eye and the kinetic motion is oddly soothing, even meditative.
Doucet is hoping that his device may drive more people to invest in wind energy. The Wind Turbine Wall can be built to scale and is capable of powering large buildings. Buildings have been identified as critical to the transition to a net-zero future as they are responsible for about 40% of global energy consumption and about one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions. Doucet’s invention can drive greater energy efficiency in buildings, particularly as electricity used in the home or business can be stored in a wall-mounted battery and even fed back into the national grid.
Although wind energy is theoretically limitless, it can be a challenge to harness, especially in cities with low average wind speeds. Doucet is up to the task, however, and is currently speaking to manufacturers about taking his product to market. “As we move from a concept to a viable product, we are focusing on maximising efficacy and increasing power output,” he explains. “This requires greatly increasing the surface area of the blades as well as reducing drag.”
Doucet makes living off the grid look easy but perfecting the design may take some time. In the meantime, allow yourself to be hypnotised by this nifty prototype.
Credits: Joe Doucet