FEV develops sustainable building technology for “The Dutch WindWheel”
Aachen, November 2023 – “The Dutch WindWheel” is the prototype of a new generation of sustainable buildings designed by the Rotterdam-based architecture bureau DoepelStrijkers. These buildings are designed to produce virtually no emissions and generate most of the required energy themselves from sustainable sources. With this project, FEV is transferring the expertise, built up over several decades in the mobility sector to the building market. The company acts as the exclusive project partner for the planning and realization of the technical building equipment (TBE). This includes the wind and solar power generation systems along with energy and battery management as well as air conditioning.
Although wind energy gives the building its name, “The Dutch WindWheel” is not equipped with conventional wind turbines. Instead, the electricity is generated using electrospraying. This technology uses electrodes inside the facade that release charged particles in the form of water droplets into the air through nozzles. This technology requires no moving parts at all, which significantly reduces noise pollution, vibrations, and shadows.
The second energy source for the building is the sun. For this purpose, around 70 percent of the building facade is fitted with solar panels, which also provide the building with shade. Further photovoltaic capacities were considered when planning the power supply, which FEV carries out using existing models for different loads and applications. This will include, for example, the roofing of the parking areas.
A smart charging and grid control system developed by the FEV engineers utilizes the vehicle batteries of the parked electric vehicles as additional energy storage and enables the necessary load shedding when required. The planning team has focused on sustainability when it comes to air conditioning, too: the warm exhaust air is fed through spaciously dimensioned pipes into heat exchangers located deep below sea level, where it is cooled down.
Patented concept for water supply
The autarchy of “The Dutch WindWheel” also includes the building´s water supply. FEV uses a patented concept in which the drinking water is largely obtained by treating rainwater. When it comes to disposing of wastewater, the engineers focus on recycling and recirculating it back into the building's cycle. FEV has successfully demonstrated the use of wastewater to produce bio-methanol in numerous projects and is now incorporating this concept into the WindWheel´s ecosystem. The long-term target is to create an environment that has a minimal ecological footprint and can also recycle waste and wastewater from the surrounding buildings if necessary.
Tourist magnet with sustainable aspirations
The distinctive silhouette of the building combines modern design and sustainable features. The underlying idea was initially to create an extraordinary tourist attraction. At the same time, the intention was to show that buildings will be able to make a positive contribution to the climate in the future. As a further aspect, people should be encouraged to question their own energy consumption and think about potential savings in the building sector. FEV´s ultra-modern and innovative solutions offer the technological prerequisites for this.
The inside of the approximately 170 m high building, whose multifunctional rooms can be flexibly used as living space, office space or for gastronomy, is characterized by spacious green areas. They contribute to improving the quality of air and people´s quality of life. With regard to the selection of building materials, priority is to be given to local suppliers and sustainable or recycled materials are to be used that are in harmony with local conditions.
“With ´The Dutch WindWheel´, the architects from Rotterdam are laying the foundations for a new generation of low-emission buildings,” said Dr. Patrick Hupperich, CEO of FEV Group. “It makes us proud to underline our position as a driver of innovation in this pioneering project. It shows exactly what we stand for: We drive innovation to help the world evolve.”