Monday, December 16th, 2019

Floating breakwater yields wave power

Published on January 19, 2016 by   ·   No Comments


Green energy innovation is continuing apace and every month we learn of excellent new concepts for generating clean electricity.

The latest ingenious idea is the Parthenon, a floating breakwater that doubles as a dynamo – designed by Dutch architectural firm, Waterstudio.

The Parthenon blue energy sea wall resembles the column structure of the famous ancient temple in Greece, consisting of numerous rotating vertical cylinders, which are anchored to the seabed. As water passes between the cylinders they spin and the motion is used to generate electricity.10_1

The columns are divided into three sections that are capable of rotating both clockwise and anticlockwise, this allows them to generate power on both the ebb and flow of the tide. Additionally the columns slow the water flow so the lee of the breakwater provides a safe harbour for boats.

The entire structure is topped off by a floating platform that can be used in a variety of different ways. This is prime riverside real estate and, as such, will command top dollar.

Imagine bars, restaurants and commercial space, all being powered from the columns upon which they are built.

The Parthenon is the brainchild of Koen Olthuis who is the principal architect at Waterstudio. As the name implies, Waterstudio specialises in creating spaces for living and working on water.

Olthuis was born in 1971 and studied Architecture and Industrial Design at the Delft University of Technology.

He has attracted the attention of the world’s media, appearing at position 122 in Time Magazine’s 2007 list of the most influential people in the world, as well as French magazine Terra Eco’s list of 100 green persons who will change the world.

When discussing the Parthenon, Olthuis uses New York as an example and he explains, “In a harbour on the Hudson River in New York the wave conditions are so strong that a sea wall must protect its boats.

The strong current in the River is constantly attacking it and water is pushing itself against and through the fixed wall, which results in more corrosion of the sea wall every year.”

In comparison, the Parthenon will allow the waves to pass through its columns using their potentially destructive power to its advantage. In the process they will be slowed sufficiently to protect the boats in the harbour.10_3

Olthuis is also the creator of Floating City Apps, which he has developed to improve conditions in urban slums, which are close to water.

The idea is to kit out shipping containers so they can be used to perform certain functions such as health centres and classrooms. The containers can (obviously) be shipped easily and cheaply around the world to where they are needed. Once they are in place, they are attached to floating foundations, which are built from recycled PET bottles.

The Floating City Apps concept has been expanded so it can be used by countries that are threatened with extinction thanks to rising sea levels due to climate change. In 2010, the government of the Maldives, which is rapidly running out of land due to rising sea levels, agreed on a joint venture to develop an 800 hectare floating city of hotels, golf courses and a conference centre, designed by Waterstudio and engineered by Netherlands-based Dutch Docklands.

Although the Parthenon is not yet in production, it has generated a lot of positive interest and, given Waterstudio’s history of other successful projects, we’re sure we’ll see these excellent eco breakwaters in production in the very near future.

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