Shades of Waterworld! Chen Xingnuo has created a winner in red dot’s design concept “green” category which imagines humans in the future living on the ocean. But not in the primitive style envisioned by the film. No, this water-world will have all the amenities, including abundant electricity thanks to vertical-axis wind turbines that look very much like garden whirligigs, with cavities in their shells that allow ocean waves to pass through, around and under, rather than destroying the bases and – by extension – the turbines.
The concept of living on the ocean is almost a no-brainer. As populations rise, especially in East Asian countries, the only uncrowded place left will be the ocean. It is there that technology and imagination will combine to create entire floating cities growing their own food – perhaps hydroponically, in filtered ocean water – and generate their own energy.
In Xingnuo’s future world, there are three components to the design: an oceangoing city, generator units (i.e., vertical axis wind turbines), and a collector facility or floating island which stores the energy generated until needed. These elements, jointly called the “Wind Capsule,” frame a highly sustainable city of the future entirely surrounded by water and many miles from land.
The generator units are actually placed in the deep ocean, which similarly we’ve already seen as an offshore wind concept tested by a company known as Hywind, which, together with Norwegian gas and oil firm StatoilHydro, placed a horizontal-axis wind turbine whose supporting column runs 328 feet down from the ocean’s surface into bedrock, where it is anchored by three cables. Of course, that 328-foot location was a fairly arbitrary choice, because the Hywind can be installed in almost 2,300 feet of water, which means a long, long way from land.