MICRO GRIDS: Renewable energy interventions

Microgrid is a term given to a group of interconnected energy consuming units, electrical components and energy resources ( generation and storage ). This community of electrical creation and supply is normally situated within clear electrical boundaries.

Research and concepts regarding microgrids, along with solar and wind power

Advantages of using microgrids:

  • Enhances resilience
  • Underground cables are used which are more efficient and safer than overhead distribution systems
  • Can lower energy costs for consumers
  • Creates more local jobs
  • Less distance for electricity to travel, reducing wasted energy
  • Independent from the national grid, meaning the microgrid wouldn’t be affected by central grid power outages.
  • Improves the environment and promotes clean energy
  • Eases the strain upon the central grid
  • Improves wellbeing

https://microgridknowledge.com/microgrid-benefits-eight/#:~:text=Microgrid Benefits%3A Eight Ways a Microgrid Will Improve,brings economic value to society. More items…

Creating the elements of a microgrid

For a microgrid to be successful the town needs to have multiple sources of energy generation. This could be solar power, wind and geothermal, in an urban environment.

Firstly, I looked into possibilities for harnessing wind power in innovative and effective ways…

Wind Assure Technology

Wind assure technology is a new and developing technology that looks at how we can harness wind power in an urban environment, whilst maintaining appealing aesthetics. Because this technology is almost a ‘solid-state’ version of a wind turbine it means there is less risk of common maintenance issues ( the more moving parts a device has, the less reliable the system is ).

Inspired by this emerging technology I did some concept sketches of my ideas surrounding electrical transportation and whether a tower could incorporate this wind assure technology …

Underground vs overhead cables. Wind power in residential tower

432 Park Avenue: By  Rafael Viñoly

Above are some images of 432 Park Avenue in Manhattan. It is the tallest fully residential building in the western hemisphere. With a slenderness ratio of 1:15m this tower can rise 425 meters while having a foot print of only 28×28 meters: ideal for dense cities such as Peckham. The height and slenderness of this building is achieved by providing several open floors that allow the wind to pass through the building. This reduces the lateral forces applied to the building that would be caused by increasing wind speeds at taller altitudes.

The Strata, London: By BFLS

Combining residential towers with wind assure/ wind power technology…

Wind assure technology. Application of wind assure into tower structures

Here I have done a rough diagram of how a residential tower could incorperate this technology to produce renewably sourced energy that could be supply to both itself and the surrounding area. Higher wind speeds would result in increased energy outputs, therefore it would be beneficial to have more wind turbines higher up upon the tower.

Solar power

Mathematical workings for solar energy generation
  • Average energy usage per person per year = 3650 KWh
  • Average energy usage from a house per year = 3700KWh
  • Average energy usage from a flat per year = 2829 KWh
  • Average energy usage from a school per year = 119, 000 KWh
Possible solar array upon The Aylesham Shopping Centre
  • Approximate roof surface area = 5,186m2
  • Approximate total solar energy generated = 583, 100 KWh
  • 583, 100 KWh could supply 157 homes or 206 flats
Possible solar array upon Harris Academy
  • Approximate roof surface area = 2823m2
  • Approximate total solar energy generated = 318, 990 KWh
  • 318,990 KWh could supply 86 homes or 112 flats
  • 119, 000 KWh could supply an average secondary school
  • 200, 000 (318,990 – 119,000) KWh could supply 54 homes, or 70 flats


Polysolar vertical transparent solar panel windows

Polysolar uses a different technology in comparison to standard solar panels. This technology can be used in locations where conventional panels would not be as efficient, such as vertical facades and non-optimal orientations. Due to the thin properties of the technology the panels can be adapted to have different levels of transparency depending on function.

These panels generate clean, solar energy while significantly reducing thermal gain into a building, thus providing greater thermal comfort. They are made from laminated glass which increases their strength, allowing them to be used in overhead applications.

Using this technology would allow buildings to generate more renewable energy by making use of vertical facades as well as roof surfaces.

Published by hjmunro88

Third year architecture student at the University of Portsmouth.

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