So, instead of relying on the wind to turn a turbine to generate electricity, when the pole sways in the wind, the stack of piezoelectric discs are compressed, generating a current through the electrodes. In a nice visual way to indicate how much â€“ if any â€“ power the poles are generating, the top 50cm (20 in.) of each pole is fitted with an LED lamp that glows and dims relative to the amount of power. So when the wind stops, the LEDâ€™s go dark.
As a way to maximize the amount of electricity the Windstalk farm would generate, the concept also places a torque generator within the concrete base of each pole. As the poles sway, fluid is forced through the cylinders of an array of current generating shock absorbers to convert the kinetic energy of the swaying poles into electrical energy.
Because the electricity generation capabilities of a Windstalk field site would depend on the wind, the designers have devised a way to store the energy. Below the field of poles would be two large chambers located on top of each other and shaped like the bases of the poles but inverted, (see the cross section image of the pole base section below). When the wind is blowing, part of the electricity generated is used to power a set of pumps that moves water from the lower chamber to the upper one. Then, when the wind dies down, the water flows from the upper chamber down to the lower chamber, turning the pumps into generators.
The WIndstalk project is still only a concept, so the designers havenâ€™t determined the optimal shape for the stalks, saying computer simulations could be used to devise the best profile for maximizing the poleâ€™s movement and variation. Even so, the design team estimates that the overall electricity output of the concept would be comparable to that of a conventional wind turbine array because, even though a single wind turbine that is limited to the same height as the poles may produce more energy than a single Windstalk, the Windstalks can be packed in much denser arrays.
The Atelier DNA Windstalk concept took out second prize in the Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) competition this year that asked entrants to â€œdesign a series of land/environmental art installations that uniquely combine aesthetic intrigue and artistic concept with clean energy generation.â€