Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Phillipe Starck's Designer Wind Turbine

Without that name attached I doubt it would have rated a column inch anywhere, nor indeed would I be commenting.

But it does present an interesting, if rather worrying, insight in what that is 'green' gets done, and covered, that may or may not be actually worth a damn.

I have to say that my initial reaction to his 'conversion' was 'well, at least the profile of trying is worthy and if style will make 'em try, why not?', but then I looked at the thing, and the claims made for it, and started to wonder about the substance. And enviROI.

I'll leave the piece, and some very pertinent thread comments in reply, to speak on.

Times - Philippe Starck turbine creates green juice for homes - Nice of 'em to catch up

Greenbang - NEW - Designer Philippe Starck tarts up turbines

The world according to Starck...

Now. He's told the Times. And The Times has told this august tome. And, as is the way, you have now told us. According to what I have read.

Has anyone popped out to check the enviROI on this thing?

I have heard that it might be a wee bitty more style than substance, and the planet is running like a UK Olympic diver in the actual 'doing some good 'rankings.

It would be nifty to find out what the actual facts are. As with a possible IKEA solar panel, after my B&Q wind turbine temptation, there may be that which looks good, does their profits good, but by golly isn't all it's cracked up to be at end of t'day.


TRC said...

Good point: might be worth suggesting Mr Starck reads the Carbon Trust's recent report which suggests that the vast majority of small-scale wind projects will never recover the carbon invested in their manufacture.

Peter said...

trc - welcome!

The report was picked up (I think logged under the 'Wind' or 'Alt. Eng. Categories, which get updated preety frequently).

I take no pleasure in a potentially enivromentally 'better' solution falling down on any grounds, but that's why I created enviROI.

Within reason one can choose to 'invest' money that will never be regained in creating a less carbon-filled future, and big up for doing so, but if it is no more than a vanity hood ornament if it simply makes things worse all round then it deserves little attention, and certainly not slavish coverage, especially in publications whcih certainly should be aware of what will and won't wash, and flag a dodgy bit of spin if that's what is is shaping up to be.

Dave said...

The chances of this 'egg beater' thing producing even 20% of the power required by a 'typical' domestic residence I would say are negligible. The design will suffer from way too much drag to ever be effective, hence the move towards helical blades for vertical axis turbines, such as those being produced like the XCO2. And if you have drag and lift, you have turbulence - you would probably have to significantly reinforce a standard residence to prevent it from being shaken to bits.

Here's a post from a blog discussing the lift and drag problem that this design will undoubtedly suffer from.

Peter said...

Sweet. Gotta love folk who know a 'fing or 2.

Now, this rather begs the question why most of the world's media neglected to ask a few first.