We see them everywhere, when driving through the countryside in Germany. Wind turbines.
I remember when I first saw them as a kid. Back then I had no idea what these strange bird-like looking things were used for. I stared out the window of the car in awe and tried to count how many of them there were in a field.
I remember the fascination and curiosity I felt towards the wind turbines when I discovered their purpose. You could make energy from wind? How cool!
Wind turbines are a popular source of renewable energy. They work by capturing the wind as the rotor spins. The movement of the blades drives a generator that creates energy. The power generated by this motion can then be converted to electricity.
Electricity generated from wind turbines is one of the most cost effective sources of renewable energy. While they can be expensive to set up, the price of operating them is low. In Europe we now get 15% of our electricity from wind.
However, renewable energy generated from turbines is not the only way we are converting this force of nature into electricity.
Recent projects from scientists and innovators are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with wind energy.
The Windvogel is one example of that.
Windvogel are kites that can generate enough energy to power 200 households. They were developed by Danish artist and innovator Daan Roosegarde and his team of scientists and engineers.
When I discovered that kites can generate electricity, I felt some of that same curiosity and fascination again that I had as a kid when I learned about the power of wind turbines.
How do these kites work? They are connected to a cable in the ground, and the movement of the push and pull of the kite in the wind generates energy. When it’s dark you can see the string of the kites emitting a bright green light, which makes them look like a work of art.
This was exactly Roosegaarde’s idea. Him and his team wanted to combine art, green energy and landscape design to make the project something truly special.
However the creation of energy generating kites was not an easy feat. In the documentary 32KM we can follow Roosegaarde and his team as they embark on a challenging mission to turn their concepts into reality.
Windvogel was originally launched as part of an innovation program by the Dutch government. They asked Daan Roosegaarde and his team to give the famous 32km dike in the Netherlands, ‘Afsluitdijk’ a refresh. Their goal was to highlight everything that this Dutch landmark stands for, including energy and mobility.
Windvogel went on tour around the world and new designs including permanent versions are now being developed. It was also the winner of several awards including the Lighting Design Dezeen Awards.
Ultimately Roosegaarde’s project represents the kind of innovation and fascination we need when creating a green, renewable future.
How can we bring more of this innovation into the world in order to make renewable energy our primary source of energy on earth? Some countries like Iceland are already there and we have the technology and opportunities to do so.
Among increased funding from the government and organisations, we need more creative approaches and solutions to make this happen.
A place to start would be to bring back some of the excitement we felt as children when we sat in the car and looked out the window at the wind turbines passing by. It felt like magic, but indeed it was real.