Green Energy Mill to Power Belgian Music Festival Renewably – Energy Manager Today

Belgian Music Festival Pilots Portable Renewable Energy Tower
(Photo: The Green Energy Mill tower was developed by Eindhoven University of Technology researchers in partnership with nine companies. Credit: Bart van Overbeeke)

The Belgian music festival Pukkelpop taking place this weekend plans to draw power for the event from a 68-foot-tall portable renewable energy tower. Instead of diesel generators, the festival can rely on wind and solar power from the Green Energy Mill (GEM) tower.

Researchers from the Eindhoven University of Technology worked with nine companies, including Pukkelpop organizers, to develop the GEM tower with a €2.3 million ($2.56 million) grant from Interreg Europe, according to the university.

A 700-kilo (1,543-pound) wind turbine sits in the middle of the steel tower and more than 140 flexible thin-foil solar cells line the exterior. Festival organizers will be supplied with additional large solar cells that can connect to the tower’s battery.

To make transporting the GEM tower more sustainable, the researchers designed it to be foldable. Right now the current version takes about a day to assemble and requires assistance from a crane, but the researchers say they want the next design to unfold automatically.

Earlier this month the researchers erected the GEM tower on campus. The upcoming three-day Pukkelpop will be the first time the tower gets put to a real test, according to the Eindhoven University of Technology.

Faas Moonen, an associate professor of structural design who led the development, says he envisions a group of these towers deployed to European festivals. “I also hope that their striking appearance will make festival goers more aware of sustainability,” he said in a university article about the prototype.

Pukkelpop organizers plan to try out the tower at their new camping area called Camping Comfy a two-minute walk from the festival site. Renewables are part of the festival’s broader sustainability strategy, which includes cradle-to-cradle keepsakes, incentivized recycling, and free public transportation.

“When the sun is out, the GEM generates energy through the brightly colored solar panels; when the sky is overcast the wind turbine takes over,” the Pukkelpop site says. “All additionally generated energy is stored in a battery in the basic construction, and enables the system to provide sustainable energy for the accommodations at Camping Comfy.”


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