The Eiffel Tower is France's most recognisable landmark, but a wind turbine too? Is it going to rotate in a strong breeze? Well, no, but it has had a couple of wind turbines installed within it, to power the various activities that take place on the Tower's first floor. And don't get worried, the French are far tool subtle than to whack a couple of three bladed conventional turbines atop the Tower to ruin its profile. They have used two Vertical Axis wind turbines by Urban Green Energy; 2xUGE VisionAIR5. Quite appropriate when you consider that the Eiffel Tower was constructed as a monument to human ingenuity and artistry.
A bit of history first. La tour Eiffel is an iron lattice tower located on the Champ de Mars in Paris, named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel. It was completed in 1889 as the entrance to the 1889 World Fair held in Paris. It is the most-visited paid monument in the world with 7 million visitors a year in recent years. It is 324 metres high and was the tallest man-made monument in the world for four decades, when it was eclipsed by the Chrysler Building in New York City.
The wind turbines form part of a major green retrofit project for the Eiffel tower, which includes energy-efficient LED lights and a 10 metre squared solar thermal array that will provide around half of the hot water requirements of the site’s two pavilions. In addition, heat pumps have been installed to heat the facilities and a rainwater recovery system has installed. The two vertical axis wind turbines will generate 10,000kWh a year.
Although there is no appropriate building benchmark for the Eiffel Tower, but one of the principal goals of the Tower's busy first floor's renovation was a strong wish to reduce its ecological footprint in the context of the City of Paris Climate Plan.
The two vertical-axis turbines have been installed on the tower's second level, about 122 metres (400ft) from the ground, where the wind is at its strongest. The turbines have also been specially painted so as to blend in with the tower. What about wind sound? The two turbines produce virtually no sound. They can also capture wind from any direction. Vertical axis wind turbines tend to deliver lower outputs than conventional turbines, but they are designed to operate in urban areas where winds tend to be less predictable and can come from multiple directions.
Nick Blitterswyk, chief executive of UGE, the turbine manufacturer, (pictured above) said the project represented something of a publicity coup for the global renewables industry. He said
“The Eiffel tower is arguably the most renowned architectural icon in the world, and we are proud that our advanced technology was chosen as the Tower commits to a more sustainable future. When visitors from around the world see the wind turbines, we get one step closer to a world powered by clean and reliable renewable energy.”
Picture by UGE