Dutch portable windmill marks green future for festivals

Dutch portable windmill marks green future for festivals

If you’re at Glastonbury festival this summer, look out for a brightly-coloured, 21-metre high windmill. Designed by researchers at the University of Technology in Eindhoven (TU/e), this new, portable gadget may be the key to substantially reducing festivals' CO2 emissions.

Dutch design provides green alternative

Although most now separate their recyclables and dish out organic food, few festivals have managed to tackle their reliance on diesel generators. The average large festival requires approximately 100.000 litres of diesel to power. It was the sight of rows and rows of these noisy, polluting generators that four years ago prompted Professor Faas Moonen to come up with an alternative.

The solution, an apparatus that combines wind and solar energy, was so simple it seemed almost unbelievable no-one else had thought of it yet. Moonen quickly secured 2,3 million euros in funding for his project, enabling him to take on a team of researchers, buy building materials, and set about creating a prototype in Eindhoven.

Introducing the GEM Tower

Part windmill, part solar panel, the 21-metre “GEM Tower”, is set to take the festival world by storm. It certainly looks the part: formed of colourful, geometric solar panels, it is vaguely reminiscent of a bejewelled Eiffel Tower. It even lights up at night! As most festival-goers know, the weather cannot always be depended upon, but if wind or sun fail to appear, a powerful battery provides backup.

Best of all, the GEM tower is collapsible. At the push of a button, it retracts into its own container, ensuring that it can be dismantled, transported and set up again in one day. Moonen explains that this is a crucial feature: during the summertime, an average of three festivals take place each day in the Netherlands, meaning the tower has to move quickly from place to place.

Coming soon to a festival near you

Although the current GEM tower is only a 1-metre-high model, the team is hoping to create a prototype this year. They then plan to test the GEM tower’s capabilities at several festivals next summer, including Noorderslag in Groningen, Pukkelpop in Belgium, and Glastonbury in the UK.

GEM Tower video

Get a first peek at the GEM tower by taking a look at this video (in Dutch):

Abi Carter


Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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