Dubai Skyscraper Is One Giant Wind and Solar Generator
Images: Studied Impact
It's hard to fathom much of the news from Dubai, especially when it comes to architecture. Then again, this city of excess has delivered some astonishing structures, including, of course, the world's tallest building. So it with a mixture of cynicism and excitement that we greet proposals such as this. Actually, it's just a competition entry. But this is Dubai, and you never know.The proposed 10MW Tower, designed by Studied Impact, is a 50-story skyscraper that integrates three massive renewable energy systems (more on those below). Added together, claim the designers, these technologies will produce 10 megawatts of power: ten times the building's needs.
As it is designed, a 5 MW wind turbine sits atop the tower; its entire south face is outfitted with heliostatic mirrors that concentrate sunlight onto a single point, creating another 3 MW; and the final 2 MW come from a solar updraft system comprised of a glass curtainwall that harnesses upward-moving hot air.
With a yearly estimated energy output from the renewable systems of 20,000 MWh, and an embodied energy of 360,000 MWh, the building will zero out in under 20 years. According to Inhabitat, no skyscraper has ever achieved this.
Studied Impact writes that the 10MW Tower is meant to be "as much an aesthetic renewable energy power plant as it is a habitable skyscraper."
Ten megawatts is a lot of power to be generated by a building. For point of reference, the largest wind turbine currently being proposed would produce that amount (and that's out at sea). The 10MW Tower is also not the first Dubai building to claim it can glean ten-times its needed energy from renewable sources. The mind-boggling rotating skyscraper has also promised such results. And the Lighthouse, also proposed for Dubai, offers a similar take on cleantech integration.
Dubai, the precarious playground of opulence that it is, might be the only place in the world where a concept like 10MW Tower wouldn't be laughed out of the building. Dubai already claims the world's tallest tower, a skyscraper with more than 50 swimming pools, and is vying to be home to the world's largest solar panel plant. There are also plans afoot for a refrigerated beach and space-age vertical agriculture that drinks seawater.
But you can't spell boom without bust. And we've already seen Dubai developers struggling to entice buyers by flaunting pictures of buildings that don't even exist yet. Not to mention one leaky aquarium. The 10MW Tower could indeed become a reality, though that won't guarantee it's a success. What happens when someone decides to build an adjacent monster, casting a shadow on the building's solar collectors and disrupting its wind? I guess we'll see.