This company combines solar and wind power in one renewable energy generation system
Unéole, a company based in Ronchin, France, has designed the ideal renewable energy generation system by combining wind turbines and solar panels in just one setup. The innovative design is ideal for urban buildings that have high energy demands but little space to accommodate the required infrastructure.
The demand for renewable energies is bringing a lot of innovation to the market. While companies like Siemens are making giant wind turbines that can tap into the flowing energies over the seas, there are companies working on windows that can generate power with the sunlight they receive.
Countries that are keen to reduce their carbon emissions are building giant solar and wind farms that will power millions of homes, while individual homeowners have the option to go solo and pick smaller energy systems that produce enough energy to keep the house and even the electric car off the grid.
Addressing the intermittency of renewables
Even after devising multiple ways of harnessing renewable energy, the major problem of intermittency of power generation still persists. One truly cannot prepare for the impact of a cloudy sky on a solar farm or look for an alternate when the winds slow down over the sea.
Power utilities are investing in giant batteries to overcome this hurdle, but when the world goes fully renewable, conventional batteries might not mature enough to fit the task. Unéole's design has a built-in backup in case renewable energy production drops. It can simply switch to another renewable source or use the partial power of both to address the energy need.
As seen in the video above, the designers have turned to vertical-axis wind turbines to harness wind power without having to build tall structures. Interesting Engineering has previously reported how vertical-axis wind turbines could make it easier to harness wind energy.
Going beyond the combination
Unéole's genius does not lie in just combining the two technologies in one setup but in going above and beyond existing technologies to make the setup truly eco-friendly. The vertical turbines are built using materials such as aluminum and stainless steel that are either recycled or can be recycled after their life cycle.
The production of the turbines can be done locally, further reducing the carbon footprint of the system. Instead of delivering a standard-sized power system for all building types, Unéole has used an algorithm to determine the optimum number of solar panels and wind turbines needed to deliver energy for a particular type of building.
Founded in 2014, Unéole has been in the works for many years and has therefore been trialed for a variety of clients at a variety of sites. Its wind turbines have been certified by the French public agency, CEREMA, as those that operate silently and without producing any harmful electromagnetic waves.
The Unéole system can be adopted for urban rooftops that have an area of 1,600 sq. ft (150 sq m) or larger, and the company is now working to scale up its technology for larger installations.
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