Skip to main content

Giant floating duck could provide solar energy for Copenhagen

giant floating duck could one day provide solar energy for copenhagen
The idea of a giant solar-panel-covered duck supplying a European city with renewable energy may sound bizarre to most regular folk (dare I say “quackers”?), but if a group of creatives get their way, it could one day become a reality.

‘Energy duck’ is the work of four Brit-based designers and artists, and has been designed to help the Danish capital of Copenhagen move toward its goal of becoming the world’s first carbon-neutral capital, something it aims to achieve by 2025.

Some of the solar electricity is stored by virtue of the difference in water levels inside and outside the duck.’

The idea is for the 12-story-high duck to bob about in Copenhagen harbor, with its vast number of solar panels used to convert the sun’s energy into electricity. The design was submitted as an entry in a contest run by the Land Art Generator Initiative, which combines art with sustainable design in the hunt for green energy solutions.

Related: Scientists develop spray-on solar panels

According to the blog Designboom, the giant duck “has been conceived to be completely scalable depending on the situation: a 40m-high duck serves a town; a 20m-high duck serves a village, and a 4m-high duck serves an individual house.”

copenhagen solar duck plan

Additional energy would be generated via hydro turbines in the base of the duck, with a special system allowing water to flood in before being pumped out. Indeed, mere water pressure appears to generate some of the energy, according to a blog post from the Land Art Generation Initiative.

“Solar radiation is converted to electricity using low cost, off-the-shelf PV panels. Some of the solar electricity is stored by virtue of the difference in water levels inside and outside the duck.”

The floating bird would also function as a tourist attraction, with low-power LED lamps on its exterior changing color to produce an entertaining light display each night. It’d even be possible to board the giant duck to learn more about its design, as well as the city’s efforts to become carbon neutral.

The Danish government is certainly serious about its green ambitions for Copenhagen, with plans for 100 wind turbines to be placed inside its city limits. (Odd fact: Ikea has the same plans for Illinois.)

While these turbines may have upset some city dwellers concerned about their environmental impact, it’s easy to imagine that a solar-panel-covered duck floating about in the harbor would be an altogether more popular element of the government’s green energy strategy and therefore be less likely to, ahem, ruffle the feathers of the local population.

[Designboom via Time]

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
Cheesy Kickstarter campaign wants to bring solar energy to students in East Africa
sun made cheese kenya

SunMade Cheese just launched on Kickstarter !

A playful new Kickstarter campaign aims to supply remote communities with a steady source of renewable energy while giving backers a handful of dairy-inspired tech devices. The campaign, SunMade Cheese, is the newest venture from Yolk, the inventor of the wildly popular Solar Paper, a thin and light solar charger that raised over $1,000,000 in 2015.

Read more
Here’s what would happen if the Sahara was covered in solar and wind farms
sahara covered wind solar farms scene

With swirling dust storms, barely any rain, and daytime temperatures reaching up to 104-degrees Fahrenheit, the Sahara desert is one of the world’s least hospitable environments. But the 3.6 million square mile stretch also represents a whole lot of untapped prime real estate -- which a new study suggests could be used for housing the biggest solar and wind farms in the world. As it turns out, not only would covering the entire area in solar and wind farms more than meet the world’s energy demands, it would also transform the local climate. According to a team of international researchers, this could more than double local rainfall and result in a moderate “greening” of the region. What’s not to like?

“The Sahara is quite dry and its surface is covered with little vegetation,” Yan Li, a postdoctoral researcher in Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois, told Digital Trends. “The additional rainfall and vegetation would certainly provide a much-needed relief to this dry, bare desert."

Read more
These living solar cells make energy, even in bad weather
wef emergin technology

When it comes to generating energy from sunlight, unusual solutions have been shown to make the process more efficient.

Now, a team of researchers from the University of British Columbia (UBC) has demonstrated how solar cells made of living organisms can generate energy even with limited sunlight. Known as “biogenic” solar cells, these cells could offer an alternative to synthetic cells currently used in conventional solar panels, providing an energy source despite bad weather. A paper detailing the research was published this month in the journal Small.

Read more