Alternative Energy

Alternative Energy

Alternative energy news, and information about renewable energy technologies.

May 15

Solar Lily Pads in Scotland

Posted in Energy Inventions | Solar Power

Solar Lily Scotland based firm ZM Architecture was recently awarded a prize by the International Design Awards for its promising solar technology concept known as the solar lily pad. What makes the most sense about this concept is that it can be implemented with very little environmental impact while saving precious land resources for other uses. Project manager Peter Richardson hopes to implement the technology on the River Clyde in an effort to supplement Glascow’s electricity needs while creating a unique waterfront experience. Glascow City Council has already approved a small test site for construction of a pilot project.

Solar Lily Pads “In cities all over the world there are disused water ways, canals and rivers.Often they become the focus for regeneration and for most people offer an improved quality of life and environment. Our project proposes to stimulate river activity and change by proposing that the surface is used to harness the power of Solar energy on a large scale. The energy created can be easily transformed and exported to the grid and will reduce the carbon footprint of the city. The idea references large lilypads that are optimized for efficient photosynthesis, so the design is inspired by nature. They can be moved and dismantled and are simply tethered to the river bed, integrated motors can rotate the discs so their orientation to the sun is maximized throughout the day.”

  • wendal

    Very interesting, but their site has nothing on it (at least that I could find). I was hoping to get some details on the technology, specs & stats. What about maintenance?

  • Bob Wallace

    You know, I think this is an idea cooked by some designers and awarded a prize by some other designers. I find it hard to believe that anyone with experience with solar was involved.

    Glasgow it at a latitude of 55N. That means that to be maximally efficient these panels are going to have to be adjusted multiple times per year in a range of 78 degrees to 32 degrees. They are going to be almost vertical in the winter.

    Got wind up that river? Puppies are going to be bucking on their anchor lines as they try to sail away.

    They are talking about rotating the pads during the day to follow the sun. That’s not very effective tracking except for mid winter. And I sort of doubt that Scotland has much sun to capture in the middle of winter. Don’t know, haven’t hung out there….

    Got traffic on that river? How are these pads going to like getting run into by a runaway barge? One took out a bridge in the US a few weeks ago. **it happens.

    Got a good way to get maintenance out there to clean off the snow (got snow in Scotland) in the middle of winter?

    Finally, notice all that unused roof top space in the picture?

    (Kind of reminds me of a bicycle designed by a dress designer…. ;o)

  • Joe Farrell

    I agree with Bob Wallace… river traffic, river currents, high latitude and what about running electrical cables from the pads to the power grid … are we really running out of stable rooftops to hang panels or is the challenge still generating efficiency?

  • James

    Yeah, I don’t understand why this won an international award. The point of solar energy is to reduce our impact on the environment. This seems to enlarge human disturbance on the river front. I doubt they would be very attractive from the shore anyway. In short, very dumb idea.

    -Put solar panels over those parking lots to shade and protect the cars there. Kill two birds with one stone.

  • Elisabeth Freeman

    Why not put the solar panels on the tops of all the buildings? You’re putting the technology in the middle of the river where it has a much higher impact on wildlife and the way the river looks. The tops of all those buildings are just waiting for solar panels…

  • Joe Smith

    This idea should be used in other parts of the world.

  • Mike O’Grady

    Interesting concept. I believe you could use this as a dual use platform by marrying the lily pad to offshore fish farms as to allow a single location provide two services. Deep water farms may not be applicable, but muscle farms, like those in the Atlantic, or Salmon farms like those in Ireland and Scotland would be suitable for small scale pilots.

    my 2cents…

  • Mike Post

    Any idea that may reduce or eliminate our dependence on petroleum and coal needs to be evaluated, and if energy can possibly be produced economically, the concept needs to be tested.

    Banging away at the keyboard to dismiss any idea that is different is not the way to solve all countries need for energy independence.

  • nate

    I agree with Elizabeth, seems like everyone wants to avoid putting solar on buildings. How about using thin solar technology that is see-through and use it on high-rise windows to provide an attractive sunshade as well as electricity. At least for the buildings that are exposed to a lot of sunlight.

    This lily pad makes me think about real lily pads. covered with slime and algae. I think the maintenance will be too much.

  • Sven AERTS

    The main components already exist: Inflatable balloons with a reflective layer on the inside focusing the solar energy- just like a flower – to a focal point where you have the nectar production, I mean a high-performing PV. The outer side of the balloon covered with a nano-size layer of hydrofobic nano-size cones that refract-pull-in the sun in the morning and evening for additional performance. The cones are soo small that even the smallest dust particle cannot attach to it, so it will fall-off/rinse of with the dew.

    I think it will be able to defend its place in a niche market: imagine a fountain powered by 12 of these “lilies” … owned by a cooperative owned via shares by the kids of the town, generating CO2e- or Green Certificates … giving them generations of free fun watching the fountain … and every time they look at it they will think of you, their great-grand father that had the idea and sponsored that kid who is now an adult and now owes some shares in that cooperative and passes them on his kid, … to remind all kids, that this was the generation of humanity that turned society in a sustainable society, where humans only took what they could give back in the form they found it, and that life, lived in harmony is wonderful for all. Would you vote in favor of this?

  • Glenn from CA

    Looks somewhat like the Pyron Solar floating CPV systems, but on a natural water surface rather than in an engineered tank.

  • Billy Bob

    Wow Amazing this made me laugh. xD

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