A designer and entrepreneur has created a device for channeling the power of wind to power your home, and it lies inside a wall-sized kinetic sculpture.
Looking like a contemporary version of a line of Buddhist prayer wheels, dozens of beige spinning blades are lined up in a grid of 25 axes, spinning and generating power as they catch a wind.
The exact dimensions of the blades aren’t settled, and their creator Joe Doucet believes the wind wall could be scaled to any size—whether to the side of a house or a warehouse. He has a prototype that’s 8-feet tall and 25-feet long which he tested and found to be enough to provide a fair amount of the annual electricity needs of an average American house.
Wind power currently comes from massive poles and fan blades mounted in windy areas like lowlands, hilltops, or off in the ocean. This doesn’t mean however, that the winds can’t blow with electricity-generating force inside a city (Chicago, for example, isn’t called the Windy City for nothing), or consequently that wind turbines couldn’t be installed next to traffic lights or in urban parks.
Wind walls could do the trick, and the benefit would be that as the blades spin, they produce a trippy optical illusion, especially if one looks on it from an angle. The shifting shadows and light in patterns makes it hard to understand exactly what’s happening—which many would certainly find nicer aesthetically than a wind turbine tower.
Additionally, what a wonderful canvas for creativity the wind walls present for visual artists to paint on, or it could be a font of spirituality for Buddhists—who could inscribe mantras on the blades themselves as they do at a temple.
Anywhere there’s a free wall, essentially, there could be the makings of wind power. Doucet gives the examples of retaining walls on the highways.
“Instead of the typical retaining walls along roads and freeways, you’d have an array of these,” said Doucet. “With the added wind boost from trucks, our highways could take care of all our energy needs.”
Speaking with Fast Company, Doucet admitted that while the concept isn’t in production, he is currently speaking with manufacturers with hopes to do just that. There are some discrepancies about the weight of a wind wall should it scale big enough, but Doucet believes that if the frame were made of aluminum, there would essentially be no reasonable size limitation.