Sunday, January 07, 2007

Idea-A-Day Three ~ Scape

Idea Count: 3/20

Title: SCAPE - Super City Alternative Planned Energy

Category: Energy

Feasibility: 3/10

Likelihood: 2/10


This one' s going to be short. It's late, and I'm not too passionate about it. If Water ever gets written way far like I want to it will make a few appearances. Until then, enjoy the idea. It probably won't ever happen. But hey, it's gonna be fun to think about anyways.

Cities last for a very long time. New York has been there since the 1600s. Rome? Even longer. The thing about cities though, is that they are very organic. Every hundred years or so the whole city gets rebuilt, bit by bit. Building gets knocked down, they put another up. Another building gets knocked down, they put another one up. Great fun, really.

I'm a big fan of alternative sources of energy. I'm not a hippy, I just think they're really cool.

Alternative energy is tight. I think we're going to have to make bigger investments in it in the future.

So, if we're going to move more towards it, why not just go for the big show?

Cause after all, if you're going to go, you might as well go big.

So I have a request. Next time London burns down, let's rebuild it my way. Here's all I ask.

#1. If you're going to build sky scrapers, build them in a strategic way such that you funnel the prevailing winds down into just one corridor. Then put a huge wind-duct in that corridor.

When wind hits a sky scraper it's got to go around it. So, what if you design your city in a sort of wedge-shaped wind catching device. You still have all the functionality of a city, but the wind just gradually and almost coincidentally gets funneled down into one corridor.

Sort of like that, where the boxes are sky scrapers. The good news is that you can have all sorts of other stuff going on underneath the sky scrapers, a normal city. Just make sure that you build the tall buildings in a pattern like that, so you can funnel all the wind down into one little spot, where you can then make it turn a wind-duct.

A wind duct is a lot like a wind mill. Except instead of an open mill, it's like a windmill in a tube. More effective, but harder to use. But hey, you're doing this on a grand scale, why not?

Now, the wind's not always gonna flow in one direction, but you can basically say it will. Utah *usually* gets wind from the west. That's the way the jet stream works, that's the way that storms and clouds come across. Are there exceptions? Yes.

But c'mon folks, you're going to rebuild your city anyways. Why not make the most of it? It'd be sorta like putting up a lot of windmills, except this way you've only got to put up one, and just redirect the wind from the others straight to it.

#2. Instead of putting photovoltaic cells on everybody's roof (Which is expensive and requires wiring) just put mirrors of sorts on them that redirect the sunlight to one central location.

Photovoltaic cells are cool. They're the solar panel deals you can put on your roof like shingles, except they make power from the sunlight that hits them. I want some, really. They're really expensive, and not super super efficient, but still cool. But, coating a city in those would be terrible expensive and require a ton of work. Instead, we've got something even better.

So, next time you build a building with a roof, build the roof at a specific angle, and make all the shingles/tiles/whatever mirrored. Point those mirrors at the sun and the giant parabola of death above the heat collector mcdoober.

Let me show you a diagram.

So basically, all these rays end up getting focused on this black ball underneath the umbrella. That black ball could do a lot of things, it doesn't really matter what. You could use all the heat to turn water into steam which would in turn run steam turbines. Or, you could just make it a really efficient photovoltaic deal and do solar power with it.

The important thing is, you're shooting all the sun into one point, then using it there. Instead of trying to use it while it's still all over the place, you're using it in the one point.

C'mon, it's easier.

Of course, you get the problem with the sun changing position in the sky, that makes this whole process harder. In the summer it's North, in the winter it's south. So, you've got options.

You could make your roofs adjustable. That's sort of hard.

Or, you could just take the hit and decide you only need one of them. When is power consumption the highest? During the summer, when the AC is always on. So, angle them for maximum collection during the summer, instead of the winter. Yeah.

So basically, these are two very raw and imperfect ideas. But the concept behind them is sort of cool.

The concept is that you take a large scale thing that has to happen anyways (in this case a city), and then you make it work for you. It's going to be sitting there anyways, we might as well make it useful, right? It's a lot like having a brick and a pile of papers. The pile of papers keeps getting blown away. Why not put the brick on it so they don't? Well, nobody thought of it before.

Yep. That's the idea. Will it happen? Probably not, but it's a cool idea anyways. w00t.

1 comment:

Courtney said...

oooh, some good ideas. the next time i burn down a city, i'll leave a note telling the government to contact you for some super cool ideas. :D ;)

no really, these are awesome ideas. but you're right, they would be kinda hard to work out...