Windwheel in the sky: Someday, people could live in this silent turbine

Jonathan Creek was a British TV series about a magician who solved crimes and lived in a windmill. While that last part might sound like a gimmick, if all goes according to plan with The Windwheel, a proposed Rotterdam project, people could begin living in a bladeless turbine.

The Windwheel’s design almost looks like a tilted floor fan. At its center is a round, unmoving turbine that converts wind into electricity. That core is surrounded by a ring containing seven floors of hotel rooms, 72 apartments, a panoramic restaurant, and a sky deck.

A semicircle that the structure is nestled against turns the facility into a partial roller coaster; 40 compartments move around the outer ring on rails, giving unique views of the city and beyond. While ensconced in one of these cabins, viewers also see videos and receive information on the pod’s “smart walls.” Okay, it sounds more like a Ferris wheel than giga coaster, but at 571 feet, the heights would still be dizzying.

How does the turbine manage to be silent? By using electrostatic wind energy converter technology (EWICON), which was developed by the Delft University of Technology and Wageningen University. “This pioneering wind energy converter can convert wind energy into electricity without the use of moving parts. This means there is far less wear and tear, maintenance costs are lower and there is no nuisance due to noise or shadows,” according to Delft’s site. However, on the same site, you can find this: “Scientific data has shown that the principle works on a small scale. However there is no evidence that this principle is suitable for use on a commercial scale.”

The project has been in development for two years, the Dutch Windwheel Corporation tells Gizmag. Everything from the actual technology to the amount of power the structure would produce is still very much up in the air, though the corporation expects the project would pay for itself within 10 years.

Assuming it gets off the ground, we expect its first tenant to be a crime-solving magician.

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