To reduce the polluting nature of festivals, Eindhoven University of Technology has developed a fold-out energy tower of 21 meters high with solar collectors and a wind turbine. On 5 August, the so-called ‘GEM tower’ was fully built on the TU/e campus for the first time. (GEM stands for Green Energy Mill.)
Most of the energy is generated by a vertical wind turbine of 700 kilograms at a height of 18 meters. This height was chosen because the wind blows the hardest above 18 meters. When there is no wind, solar cells ensure stable power generation. For that reason, the tower has no less than 144 small, flexible thin-foil solar cells. Absolute eye-catchers are the forty colored solar collectors. These so-called LSC (Luminescent Solar Concentrator) panels were developed at TU/e by the research group of Prof. Michael Debije of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry. The panels capture incoming light rays and send them to the edges. In the frames of the panels are the real solar cells that convert these concentrated light rays into electricity. Because the LSC panels do not need direct sunlight, they are more widely applicable than solar cells. Both in the shade and in the sun, they provide energy, and even on a completely cloudy day, they continue to produce electricity.