The Ocean Still: Lagrimas de Santa Monica, a submission to the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica

Artist Team: Nuith Morales, Stephanie Hsia, Courtney A. Goode, Michelle Arevalos Franco, and Helen E. Kongsgaard
Artist Location: Boston, USA
Energy Technologies: Solar Distillation
Annual Capacity: 9 million liters of drinking water

The twin springs that inspired Santa Monica’s name were fabled to be the tears of a saint. At a time of growing thirst in California, The Ocean Still augments this sacred source of water by transforming seawater into fresh water, using only the energy of the sun. A large, transparent enclosure—a solar still perched on the old breakwater—makes a surface for collecting the saint’s pure tears once again. This simple, pre-modern technology concentrates sunlight, distills saltwater, and condenses fresh water on a glass shell. The entire breakwater structure, including the passive solar still and its complex of pools, celebrates the many forms of water as well as the residue of desalination.

Fusing urban needs and pleasure, the expanded breakwater complex recalls the history of the Santa Monica Pier as municipal sewage utility and its vital role in urban metabolism. Now, as before, the processes that make city life possible are tied to entertainment and destination—water production as spectacle.

Inside the “still” solar radiant heat is absorbed and concentrated. The seawater evaporates. As it condenses on the glass shell, a collection channel diverts the pure distillate into a cistern and to the pier. The angled glass walls face due south, absorbing maximum solar heat and exploiting the flow of prevailing westerly and southwesterly winds.

The concentrated saline brine that results from desalination exits from a low point into the “brine pool”—a long, deep swimming pool that induces the body to float. Swimmers churn the brine water with their movements, maintaining the water at a consistent density.

When the brine waters approach the pool’s capacity they flow onto the “mixing beach.” Here, short walls allow for waves to crash and stir the concentrate—brine mixing with seawater. This slow reclamation of diluted brine back to the Pacific Ocean prevents the dead zones associated with industrial desalination. The shallow slope of sand and gravel at the “mixing beach” creates a protected habitat for marine fauna, and an idyllic floating coast for California sunbathers.

The Ocean Still encourages hope in simple technologies that will not readily become obsolete. Drought and thirst cannot be easily solved at the push of a button. Thoughtful interventions in our lives and landscapes, beyond providing solutions, have the capacity to engage the desires and delights of the senses.

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Flowerpops

Flowerpops, a submission to the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica

Artist Team: Augusto Audissoni, Silvia Cama, Elisabetta Lo Grasso, Elisa Tozzi, Nicolò Mossin
Artist Location: Genoa, Italy
Energy Technologies: Vortex Bladeless™ Wind Turbine, Thin Film Solar (similar to AltaDevices™), Point Absorber Buoy Wave Energy Converter
Annual Capacity: 13,000 MWh

Just off the Santa Monica Pier there is an artificial giant garden, vibrant and full of life, with everything moving and the sound of the wind whistling between the stems. Here and there one part of the system catches the eye for a moment. As Lewis Carroll suggests, perhaps it is necessary to invert the size relationships between humans and nature to uncover the laws that regulate the balance between the parties.

Flowerpops integrates a new technology park with the spectacular character of its ocean setting. The famous funfair skyline on Santa Monica Bay is extended toward the horizon line near the breakwater. Five different technologies for energy production are brought together there. The devices are designed in five natural shapes in order to compose an artificial ecosystem.

“Wind flowers” come in four different sizes and use Vortex Bladeless™ technology. “Flying pollen” are realized in colored PET-G plastic, they weigh no more than 750 grams and they are driven by a mechanical system, set in motion by the energy produced by some “wind flowers.” “Floating water lilies” exploit wave power and are configured as a carpet of undulating buoys that dot the sea horizon. The “tulip binders” are pools of rainwater harvesters that raise and lower depending on the difference of pressure generated by the water collection. “Sun flowers” use photovoltaic film to convert sunlight into electricity.

During the passing of the day the surrounding playground changes according to weather and time. In the night the stored energy powers over 2,000 LED lights, reflecting the effect of the starry sky onto the ocean.

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Santa Monica Ocean’s Breath, a submission to the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica

Artist Team: Fabio Azzato
Artist Location: Florence, Italy
Energy Technologies: Point Absorber Buoy Wave Energy Converter
Annual Capacity: 1,000 MWh

Santa Monica Pier is a continuation of the city into the ocean represented through play and entertainment. Santa Monica Ocean’s Breath continues to enrich the link between the ocean and the city in a fun and visible way.

The energy potential of wave movement is enormous and the conversion to electricity is relatively simple.

The 78 floating buoys, situated 100 meters from the breakwater rocks, produce clean energy that is used to supply Santa Monica Pier activities.

By night, a small part of the produced energy is used to light up the buoys and their connection to the pier. Each buoy has a vertical illumination bar that is activated in proportion to the energy produced by the ocean—a synchronized dance of light with waves.

Santa Monica Ocean’s Breath delivers enough clean energy to make the pier net-zero while creating a unique atmosphere that can attract tourists and set an example for other coastal cities.

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CaliforniaPower
click on the image above to access the full-size PDF

California has enacted an ambitious carbon reduction policy to bring emissions down to 40% below 1990 levels by the year 2030. We decided to take a look at what the land use impact of energy has been on California in the past, and what a real shift to a 100% renewable energy infrastructure might look like.

The information graphic is the latest in our series that explores the land use impact of renewable energy in a post-carbon world. Starting in 2009 with the Surface Area Required to Power the World with Solar, we have been making the case that the renewable energy transition, while a huge undertaking, is not any more ambitious in scale than previous human endeavors, and that the footprint on our environment can be designed to be in harmony with nature and provide a unique benefit to human culture.

In this graphic, we show a diversified mix of renewable energy technologies and the impact in terms of land area in direct proportion to consumption by county (you can quickly see that Los Angeles County is the biggest consumer). Much of the infrastructure can be located within our cities—on rooftops and through creative and community-owned applications in public spaces. The rest could easily be located in the places that have already been disturbed by oil and gas extraction—the dark dots on the map.

By enlisting these fossil fuel land areas in the fight against climate change, we can keep the CO2 the ground while we clean up the sky.

oil-well-landuseThis is what all of the 227,278 dark dots on the map look like up close (near Bakersfield, CA)

In the course of our research, we came across the MIT study, The Future of Solar Energy, which also includes a section that studies land use comparisons. We were fascinated to learn that across the entire US, the land area required to satisfy 100% of U.S. 2050 energy demand with PV would be no larger than the surface area that has already been “disturbed by surface mining for coal.” Some other comparisons from the study:

The land area required to supply 100% of projected U.S. electricity demand in 2050 with PV installations is roughly half the area of cropland currently devoted to growing corn for ethanol production, an important consideration given the neutral or negative energy payback of corn ethanol and other complications associated with this fuel source. That same land area&emdash;i.e., 33,000 km2 to supply 100% of U.S. electricity demand with PV&emdash;is less than the land area occupied by major roads. The currently existing rooftop area within the United States provides enough surface area to supply roughly 60% of the nation’s projected 2050 electricity needs with PV

MIT-Future-of-Solar-Energy
Diagram from The Future of Solar Energy, Chapter 6: PV Scaling and Materials Use

California is acting on a plan (read more about the Governor’s Climate Change Pillars: 2030 Greenhouse Gas Reduction Goals) that should set the standard for the entire country. By reaching 50% renewable electricity production, reducing petroleum use in transportation by 50%, and increasing energy use efficiency, these 2030 goals can provide the momentum for a 100% renewable energy economy by 2050.

Recognizing the unprecedented global threat of human induced climate change, we do not have the luxury of acting any less vigorously than California on a global scale, and in fact, that may not even be fast enough. Don’t ask how much it will cost because that is the wrong question. What will be the cost to the children born in 2016 if we do not act now? The technology exists to begin today, and the economic stimulus effect of a WPA-scale regenerative infrastructure project for the 21st century will bestow positive benefits for generations.

Let’s get to work!

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Weightless Balloons, a submission to the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica

Artist Team: Aitor Almaraz, Sonia Vázquez Díaz (University of A Coruna)
Artist Location: A Coruna, Spain
Energy Technologies: Wind Harvesting (similar to MARS™, Magenn Air Rotor System), and Point Absorber Buoy Wave Energy Converter
Annual Capacity: 2,000 MWh

There is a profound power between the sea and sky—two endless parallel planes seeming to merge in the distance and obscured by the curvature of the earth. The pier with its thousand legs is walking inside the ocean, attempting to reach that imaginary and impossible contact point between air and water. The amusement park colonizes the platform and, in the middle of the attractions, the balloon seller offers us the fantasy of weightless deliverance—the dream of floating above our everyday struggle.

Weightless Balloons is a set of ethereal bubbles emerging from the sea, floating on the surface, moving to the rhythm of the waves. These gas spheres are protected by a metallic skeleton, like water molecules aspiring to abandon their liquid state to evaporate and blend with the air. This hope of freedom is fulfilled by the wind, which releases the balloons and makes them fly at its will. The free energy channeled into electricity derives from the fight of the bubbles against the tidal forces and the dance with the wind.

The artwork can function in two different modes for energy production. After analyzing the weather conditions, a computer determines if more power can be generated from the waves or from the wind, switching from one mode to the other as conditions warrant. Low tide sees the bubbles disappear completely behind the breakwater as they operate in “buoy” mode.

The balloons are filled with an inert gas, lighter than air, which keeps the structures floating on or over the water surface. Their skin is fabricated with double ETFE plastic layers, transparent but very durable.

The bubble’s structure is attached to a coiling gear, which automatically adjusts the length of the cable to the tidal conditions, and allows the system to alternate between the “buoy” and the “aero” generator modes. The coilers work with a mechanism very similar to sailboat coilers, capable of operating in constant contact with the water, and of bearing heavy loads.

When the computer detects good wind conditions, the coils loosen to allow the structures to rise into the air and spin around their axis to produce electricity.

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Horizon Lines

Horizon Lines, a submission to the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica

Artist Team: Rebecca Borowiecki (University of Colorado)
Artist Location: Boulder, USA
Energy Technologies: Transparent Solar Cell by Onyx Solar®
Annual Capacity: 625 MWh

In its original form in 1909, the Santa Monica Pier was built over a sewage pipe that emptied into the ocean, working to hide the effects of humanity on the environment. Horizon Lines takes this one piece of Santa Monica’s rich and diverse history and turns it upside down. It presents a contemporary counterpoint by creating a transparent energy source on the horizon for all to see, inspired by the form of the pier’s pylons and the shape of a wave.

The project is composed of BIPV (building integrated photovoltaic) glass panels the spacing of which is based on the crest and trough of a wave. The panels are spaced more tightly near the end of the pier to create the intensity in the crest of the wave, reflecting and refracting water and sky. The middle portion represents the trough of the wave, where the ocean becomes calm and glass-like. This pattern culminates at the far end with a tightening of the panels to signify the next peak of the wave as it heads toward shore. Walking along the beach or the pier, a visitor experiences different perceptions of the sculpture, like the glint of a wave in morning sun or a crystal-clear view through the panels to the true horizon behind.

Each panel is illuminated with an LED light strip connected to the panel’s individual meter. Through the levels of illumination, visitors will be able to visualize how much energy has been produced.

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Follies and Fog a submission to the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica

Artist Team: Nik Klahre, Brooke Campbell-Johnston
Artist Location: London, UK and Copenhagen, Denmark
Energy Technologies: Wave Energy Converter
Annual Capacity: 13,000 MWh, less the energy required to power fog generation

Renewable energy of the future does not need to be a blot on the landscape, or an affliction on local ecosystems, but can instead float harmlessly and almost invisibly just below the ocean’s surface. Follies and Fog celebrates the notion that today’s renewable energy sources do not require exterior cladding or to be fashioned into interesting forms, but instead can remain hidden and out of sight, while providing sustainable energy for the city.

The artwork makes visible the hidden wave energy production units below the surface of the ocean, but also uses a small amount of wave energy to conceal itself in a fog mist. As the amount of renewable energy produced nears the target of powering 1,280 homes, the amount of artificial fog is so great that it completely engulfs the artwork in a cloud of mist, obscuring it from view. It is only when the renewable energy source begins to wane as the waves become less powerful that the viewer is able to perceive the work of art within the cloud of artificial fog.

The design proposes 128 floating follies, each symbolizing the archetypal Santa Monica dwelling and its need for energy. Each of the bright red follies is an abstraction of a house type found in a district of Santa Monica. The follies are connected to a floating grid of buoy-type wave energy converters. Each folly is directly responsible for powering 10 homes within the City of Santa Monica.

A walkway invites visitors to follow the line of the original Santa Monica Pier—a train line that extended out into the sea. There they can walk along this floating path surrounded by the abstract floating houses, as if walking along Santa Monica Boulevard.

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Catching the Wave a submission to the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica

Artist Team: Christina Vannelli, Liz Davidson, Matthew Madigan
Artist Location: Hamilton, Ontario Canada
Energy Technologies: Point Absorber Wave Energy Converter (similar to CETO™ by Carnegie Wave Energy)
Annual Capacity: 16,000 MWh

Catching the Wave is an artistic impression of the historical context of the Santa Monica Pier and its breakwater. The area behind the breakwater was once home to a yacht harbor filled with hundreds of sailboats and moorings. Catching the Wave utilizes the relationship of a sail ship and its mooring, and exaggerates the scale of both silhouettes. The fleet is moved to the west side of the breakwater to capitalize on the raw energy of the ocean’s waves.

The installation is made up of 60 buoys that capture wave energy. Each “energy buoy” is eight meters in diameter. The large size increases the function of efficiency in capturing the potential energy in each wave. Each buoy is connected to a piston mounted on the ocean floor by a flexible tether. With the upward swell of each wave, the buoy and the piston rise, allowing room for seawater to flood a large chamber. When the wave falls, the buoy and piston fall with it, pressurizing the water into pipes laid out on the ocean floor.

Back above the surface, the fleet of 15 sail ships is clustered amongst the sea of buoys. Each sail is 40 meters tall and is connected with two to seven buoys, which all send their pressurized seawater to the mechanical housing below the sail platform. The pressurized seawater turns a turbine within the housing to create sustainable energy for the Santa Monica grid.

As the waves increase in intensity, the sails above become brighter, illuminated by responsive LEDs. Visitors can relate in real time to the clean energy production and speculate on how bright the sails could become.

The bobbing of the blue and white striped buoys, the fluttering of the bright coral sails, and the people lounging in the summer sun on the wooden decks of the isolated platforms, all come together to create an elegant calm.

Visitors can take kayaks and paddle in and around the artwork. Passing the last sail, they will have reached the western extent of American settlement. But the frontier of environmentally conscience design is only just opening. Wave energy infrastructure is now embarking on a journey to a brave new future.

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Breakwater Make Water a submission to the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica

Artist Team: Elizabeth Case (University of Edinburgh)
Artist Location: Wallingford, UK
Energy Technologies: Point Absorber Buoy Wave Energy Converter (similar to Ocean Power Technologies™)
Water Harvesting Technologies: Fog Harvesting (similar to FogQuest™)
Annual Capacity: 400 MWh and 13 million liters of drinking water

Not often is there an opportunity to generate ideas for an offshore location and to create a feature that directly responds to its maritime setting. The scale of the site means it is very visible from around the whole Bay of Santa Monica, California. Breakwater – Make Water is therefore an installation that is both eye-catching and visually sensitive to its setting.

Contributing to Santa Monica’s strong identity is the fog that comes rolling in off the Pacific Ocean almost every morning. Using a technology similar to that already successfully used in projects in South America, fog-harvest netting is shaped into sails to recall the harbour that once occupied the site.

Energy generation is accomplished by way of a buoy-type wave energy converter that powers an underwater turbine by moving vertically with the waves and tides. The hull of the boat acts as the float of the buoy and the boat’s mast continues below the water to form the absorber. The turbine unit is anchored to the sea floor with a fixed deadweight, which also houses the pipe and cable infrastructure as it joins into each adjacent unit.

Sixty boats are spaced out within the site area on the far side of the breakwater. Each boat measures 24.5 meters from the base of the hull to the top of the mast and is 15 meters long. It is anticipated that the base of the hull would sit about one meter below the water level, rising and falling with a range of four meters between high and low tide. There is a minimum spacing of 10 meters between each boat to allow for efficient harvesting of fog and to provide an intermittent view of the horizon from the beach and pier.

Wind carries fog particles through the material, trapping droplets of water. Gravity then causes these droplets to fall to the base of the sails before flowing into the pipe infrastructure. Resources produced would first supply the pier and waterfront businesses.

As the sun goes down over Santa Monica Bay, the fleet of sailboats comes to life with solar-powered lights that have been charging throughout the day. The programmable LED lights can either be a static glow or cycle through color combinations, allowing for infinite creative possibilities that could tie in with the promotion of special events and holidays.

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Cnidaria Halitus a submission to the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica

Artist Team: John Eric Chung, Pablo La Roche, Danxi Zou, Jingyan Zhang, Tianyi Deng (CallisonRTKL)
Artist Location: Los Angeles, USA
Energy Technologies: tidal turbines (100% of energy used to pump water for distillation)
Water Harvesting Technologies: solar distillation with Fresnel lens
Annual Capacity: 220 million liters of drinking water

Expressing the mystery and beauty of ocean life, Cnidaria Halitus harnesses the natural forces of the sun and the tides to produce 600,000 liters of potable water each day for the City of Santa Monica. California’s buildings are on their way to becoming net zero energy, yet there is much to be done to achieve the same level of water conservation and generation that we have achieved with energy.

Cnidaria Halitus begins its water generation process by collecting and filtering water from the ocean through a centralized system of pipes that take it to the interior of each of the boilers located at the focal point of a Fresnel lens. To maximize heat collection, the axis of the Fresnel lenses and the collectors consistently track the sun in its daily and monthly trajectory across the sky.

The sun’s heat is concentrated onto the boilers, which evaporate the seawater.

The vapor condenses inside the external membrane, an ultra-lightweight transparent fabric that expands with the water vapor, further increasing the surface collection area and allowing maximum solar radiation on the boiler. The expansion and contraction of the external membrane will give the artwork a life-like expression.

The breakwater is used to channel the currents and to concentrate them in slits, where the turbines are located, harnessing the flowing kinetic energy of the tides to generate electricity. This electricity is used to pump the water up to the boilers and to continue the evaporation process during the night.

Cnidaria Halitus provides a visible solution to the problem of water scarcity, creating awareness while providing carbon free potable water from the ocean to the city.

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Noctilucales
Submission to the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica

Team: Ricardo Avella, Andrés Tabora, Michael Henriksen, Carla Betancourt, Silvia Mercader, Laura Vera, Oriana De Lucia, Martin Von Bülow, Laura Vivas, Miguel Rosas (representing: Tabora + Tabora Landscape Architecture, ATA avella taller de arquitectura, WavePiston)
Artist Location: Caracas, Venezuela
Energy Technologies: wave energy converter (by WavePistonTM)
Water Harvesting Technology: reverse osmosis desalination
Annual Capacity: 4,200 MWh, less the energy used for desalination (up to 14 million liters per year)

Open spaces are essential for an urban environment to reach balance. They are a form of escape—a place to get away from the chaos of the city.

Noctilucales preserves the horizon line of the ocean—the clean and uninterrupted view, where the sea stretches out before you until it meets the sky. To compromise the horizon is to destroy the landscape.

WavePistonTM has developed one of the less visually obtrusive wave energy technologies consisting of a network of moving plates installed along cables. The movement of the plates creates hydraulic pressure, which is converted into electricity. All of the components are submerged in the ocean, making the system invisible from shore. Only the small anchored buoys on either side of each WavePistonTM string can be seen on the horizon.

Noctilucales has two main elements—the submerged wave power farm with 200 energy collectors, and an extension of the Santa Monica Pier, increasing the surface of public space and providing a secure area for the turbine/generator and desalination plant.

Underwater LED lights on top of each moving plate will cast a subtle glow at night. The energy collectors will be seen as a field of lights, producing a bioluminescent effect similar to the one created by natural Noctilucales in some parts of the world.

The hydraulic pipe runs along the breakwater to a turbine station on the new pier extension. The generator is made visible, with a glass wall built on one side to show the jets as they hit the turbine. In this way, people will follow the conversion process inside one of six green cylindrical structures. The system will supply electricity for the pier and the bioluminescent installation. The surplus electricity feeds into the city grid.

Some of the wave energy is used to produce fresh water with reverse osmosis desalination. With the kinetic energy of the waves, the cost of desalination can be greatly reduced. Instead of using pumps and motors, the ocean waves are able to naturally create the necessary pressures with the movement of the plates.

The desalination plant is transparent to demonstrate the process to visitors, and drinking water fountains along the new pier provide a first taste of the fresh water produced.

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Ring Garden
Submission to the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica

Team: Alexandru Predonu
Artist Location: Bucharest, Romania
Energy Technologies: photovoltaic panels, algae bioreactor
Water Harvesting Technology: solar powered osmotic desalination (with waste brine used to culture algae for livestock feed)
Annual Capacity: 440 MWh (100% goes to power desalination processes and rotate the Ring Garden)
60 million liters of drinking water (40 million liters goes to agricultural production)
18,000 Kg of aeroponic crop yield (conserves 331 million gallons of water)
5,000 Kg of spirulina biomass for livestock feed

Agriculture is the largest user of fresh water in California. Ring Garden demonstrates a solution by creating a highly efficient ecosystem including a desalination plant, a rotating aeroponics farm, and an algae bioreactor. It harvests seawater, CO2, and the sun’s energy to create food, biomass, and fresh water.

Seawater enters the desalination plant through special screens that protect fish and local wildlife. Solar panels power a high-pressure pump to pressurize seawater above the osmotic pressure and through a semi permeable membrane.

The plants in the rotating farm use 60% of the water produced. The remaining 30% is sent to the city grid. The brine water is fed through the bioreactor to produce cultures of spirulina that, once mature, are sent to an offsite plant to produce biomass.

The aeroponics system uses 98% less water than conventional farming and yields on average 30% more crops without the need for pesticides or fertilizers. Ring Garden demonstrates that the main elements a plant needs in order to grow—water, sun, nutrients, and CO2— are on site and don’t need to be transported.

Assisted by the power of the sun, the desalination plant provides fresh water and nutrients filtered from the seawater. On a footprint of about 1,000 m2 the farm can produce vegetables that would otherwise take 26,000 m2 of land and 340 million gallons of fresh water per year. Ring Garden consumes only nine million gallons of water per year. It saves 331 million gallons that would simply evaporate, which is water that can be redirected to 2,300 households.

The farm rotation reflects the movement of the Pacific Ferris wheel on the pier, and ensures that each “spoke” of planted area receives the appropriate amount of sunlight. The plant supports have a swivel mechanism that uses gravity to keep the plants always facing upward.

The structure is oriented south for best sun exposure. Ring Garden is tilted approximately 8.5 degrees so that on Earth Day (April 22) the sun seen from the Santa Monica Pier will set through the middle of the wheel.

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Wake Up

Wake Up
Submission to the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica

Artist Team: Henry Moll, Mary Carroll-Coelho
Artist Location: Philadelphia, USA
Energy Technologies: Wave Energy Converter (similar to “Salter’s Duck” invented in the 1970s by Steven Salter)
Annual Capacity: 1,400 MWh

The Santa Monica Pier—once a means of transporting waste out to the sea and now a place for social enjoyment—has a history of turning trash into treasure. Wake Up brings this tradition into the era of sustainability by transforming retired swan boats into contemporary energy generating pieces of water art.

The technology behind Wake Up utilizes the most abundant and local force at the pier, the wake of the ocean. Wave energy converters are devices that use the natural motion of wave movements to generate usable power. One such system was developed in the 1970s by Professor Stephen Salter at the University of Edinburgh and dubbed “Salter’s Duck.” The “ducks” consist of a series of wedge-shaped devices located at the ocean’s surface with a central axis throughout, housing the mechanics to generate power. As a wave encounters the underside of the wedges, the force pushes the wedges upwards, causing rotation at the central axis. This rotation creates electrical power through hydraulic generators.

Wake Up reuses retired swan boats to function as Salter’s Ducks, generating offshore energy and helping to power the pier’s amusement park. The swan boat’s body is modified, creating the necessary wedge shape, and a central axis links multiple boats together in staggered rows.

The system is dubbed the “Salt Swan” in reference to Mr. Salter and the atypical presence of swans in salt water. The “Salt Swans” are deployed just beyond the existing breakwater line to capture the most wave energy. When waves hit the swans, they emit a celebratory honking sound as a spectacle for the public to enjoy, and as a reminder of how the system works.

The “Salt Swans” are linked to the shore by a series of lit buoys that display the level of charge, much like a gas gauge in a car. As the onshore battery fills up, the buoys begin to light up in a suspenseful sequence. At full capacity, a dedicated, swan-inspired high striker on the pier rings its bell. Moments later, a light show ripples through the amusement park in celebration.

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2000 Lighthouses Over the Sea
Submission to the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica

Artist Team: Louis Joanne, Anaelle Toquet Etesse, Elba Adriana Bravo, Maria Rojas Alcazar, Ronan Audebert
Artist Location: Guadalajara, Mexico
Energy Technologies: Point Absorber Buoy Wave Energy Converter
Annual Capacity: 4,000 MWh

Continuing the playful atmosphere of the Santa Monica Pier, and inspired by the 2,000 wooden piles below, 2000 Lighthouses Over the Sea proposes 2,000 new columns that illuminate the horizon to the rhythm of the intensity of the waves and provide renewable energy to the pier and the city.

During the day, the masts could be interpreted as simple ship masts, drawing a line that catches the spectator’s attention without disturbing the landscape.

The artwork invites the public to walk out on a new pier extension. As the viewer moves and descends along the new path, she can find herself in the middle of a forest of light. The movement of the masts reflects the rhythm of the waves. From the central walkway, small side piers offer different views of the work and the surrounding landscape.

The light from the tip of the masts changes in intensity according to the power of the waves. In the presence of a storm or dangerous waves, the lights will flash a red warning.

Each of the masts signifies a buoy-type wave energy converter on the water’s surface. Groups of 150 masts share a synchronized collection point, from where the collected energy is transmitted to a power substation on shore.

2000 Lighthouses Over the Sea shows how it is possible to harness renewable energy resources by working in harmony with our planet, respecting marine life, and protecting the environment.

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Sun Towers

Sun Towers
Submission to the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica

Artist Team: BLDA Architects (John Perry, Matteo Melioli, Ramone Dixon, Terie Harrison, Kristina Butkute), XCO2 Consultants (Tom Kordel, Sherleen Pang, Kostas Mastronikolaou), Steven Scott Studio (Steven Scott)
Artist Location: London, UK
Energy Technologies: Photovoltaic Panels, Point Absorber Buoy Wave Energy Converter, Tidal Turbine
Water Harvesting Technologies: Solar Distillation, Reverse Osmosis Desalination
Annual Capacity: 4,000 MWh and 110 million liters of drinking water

The year 2016 marks a special occasion for Santa Monica. It is the 100-year birthday of the Looff Hippodrome, the gloriously eclectic carousel building that is one of the few features of Charles Looff’s Pleasure Pier that remains to delight visitors today. It seems appropriate to propose a new landmark to celebrate this centennial interval in Santa Monica’s history.

Towers of Sun is a new type of desalination plant where low-tech solar distillation is prioritized and supplemented by renewably driven reverse osmosis. Power plant and people assimilate in an uplifting visual experience, where vertical, active, and intelligent systems constantly assess and recalibrate the local dynamic environment.

The design responds directly to the eccentricity of the site and the city. By day, opaque, elegant solar antennae float on a current of energy, strategically positioned to directly respond to the local micro-climatic conditions. By night a tantalizing glimpse of striking form and color is revealed!

An extension of the promenade optimizes views to an extended sea space facing southwest, then navigates the visitor back along the loop to exciting views of the mountains and City of Santa Monica. The panoramic terrace, located at the heart of the plant, will support a dynamic public learning center, inspired by the interpretive elements at the Santa Monica Urban Runoff Recycling Facility (SMURRF). Visitors can stroll along a unique panorama, up close to the elegant sun towers, where the drama, suspense, and beauty of solar desalination are performed.



Each solar tower is a steel and glass structure that contains a vertical stack of water vessels. Solar energy heats and evaporates the seawater from the vessels, which then condensates and falls to the base of the tower.

Photovoltaic cells are grouped upon vertical masts as a screen, which rotates to follow the sun path. Energy surplus generated by the photovoltaic panels is used to power a micro desalination plant, situated at the bottom of the tower.

At the base of each tower is a buoy on the water’s surface that rises and falls with the waves. The action drives a pump system that compresses the seawater until it reaches the solar water vessels. Tidal turbines are invisible below the water’s surface to provide supplemental electricity.

This multi-dimensional installation celebrates the power of light and the energy of the ocean in all their myriad variations.

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The Pipe

The Pipe
Submission to the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica

Artist Team: Abdolaziz Khalili, Puya Kalili, Laleh Javaheri, Iman Khalili, Kathy Kiany (Khalili Engineers)
Artist Location: Vancouver, Canada
Energy Technologies: Photovoltaic Panels
Water Harvesting Technologies: Electromagnetic Desalination
Annual Capacity: 10,000 MWh to generate 4.5 billion liters of drinking water

From the beach, a gleaming pipe floats in the horizon. It’s a testament to our time and reminds us about our dependence on water and about our need to appreciate and value this vital gift. It also teaches us that water is plenty and nature provides. We just need to learn to work with it, keep it clean, and appreciate it.

Multiple pools of hot and cold, crystal-clear saltwater invite visitors to experience a ritual that takes them away from the stress of daily life. Relaxing on the pool deck, listening to the sound of the waves, and looking out to the ocean, visitors can be blissfully unaware of the seamless technology at work all around them.

Above, solar panels provide power to pump seawater through an electromagnetic filtration process below the pool deck, quietly providing the salt bath with its healing water and the city with clean drinking water. The Pipe represents a change in the future of water.

Water never leaves our planet. Rather it is simply displaced. Fresh water finds impurities and becomes temporarily unfit for consumption. These impurities can be visible or invisible. The visible particles can be filtered with basic procedures. It is the invisible impurities (dissolved solids) that make filtration complicated and costly.

Conventional desalination technology such as reverse osmosis uses excessive electricity, generates unwanted industrial waste and polluted water, and requires very expensive machinery.

Ninety-seven percent of seawater is pure water and only three percent is dissolved solids. All dissolved solids in water become ionized and can therefore be controlled through electromagnetic energy. Electromagnetic filtration uses an isolated electromagnetic field on pipes circulating seawater, separating the salts and impurities. The process is rapid and energy efficient.

What results are two products: pure drinkable water that is directed into the city’s primary water piping grid, and clear water with twelve percent salinity. The drinking water is piped to shore, while the salt water supplies the thermal baths before it is redirected back to the ocean through a smart release system, mitigating most of the usual problems associated with returning brine water to the sea.

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Sky+Music+Fountain+Water, a submission to the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica

Artist: Oliver Ong
Artist Location: Brisbane, Australia
Energy Technologies: Point Absorber Wave Energy Converter (similar to CETO™)
Annual Capacity: 6,000 MWh, less energy used for water spray effects and sea organ

The sound of a choir of dolphins and whales makes its way across the surface of the water from pipes erected in the middle of the sea. It echoes across the sea to the beach. Beautiful sprays of water accompany the chorus, their direction always changing.

A power buoy wave energy system operates under the water’s surface, safe from large storms and practically invisible from the shore. The fully submerged buoys drive pumps and generators contained within the buoy itself, with electricity delivered back to shore through subsea cables for export to the grid.

The sky + music + fountain + water buoy design uses a translucent acrylic hull illuminated to mimic jellyfish.

Some of the energy is diverted to a pump that expels water and air. The seawater creates a constantly changing fountain while air is discharged through organ pipes. Visitors can take turns conducting this choir of sound and water from an organ-like keyboard on the Santa Monica Pier.

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Big Beach Balloon, a submission to the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica

Artist: Matt Kuser
Artist Location: Carmel, USA
Energy Technologies: thin film photovoltaic
Annual Capacity: 300 MWh

High above the bustling historic pier, Big Beach Balloon gently carries excited passengers skyward to experience Santa Monica from dramatic new heights. By connecting the pier’s amusement park character below with spectacular panoramic aerial views above, the design aims to celebrate Santa Monica’s glorious location, while seamlessly harnessing one of its most abundant resources, the sun.

Cutting-edge, thin film solar technology is paired with the timeless romance of motorless flight. The tethered helium balloon, 23 meters in diameter, offer 20–30 passengers a memorable 10-minute ride up to 150 meters above the pier (or as high as the Santa Monica airport flight paths will allow).

Combining solar power generation with a new attraction at the pier is the perfect way for Santa Monica to highlight its ambitious solar initiatives in a playful way that engages people for years to come.

The spherical array of solar film allows the balloon to dynamically track the sun throughout the day. Collected energy passes through a junction box at the balloon’s suspension net, and then travels down the tether cable to the landing platform for easy connection to the central grid.

One of the most precious resources of the site is the ocean vista. Big Beach Balloon has a small footprint, leaving the majority of the proposed site and the clear horizon view from the edge of the existing pier untouched.

The design is noiseless, allowing passengers to leave the bustle of the crowds below and listen to the music of nature.

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Esther

Esther, a submission to the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica

Artist Team: Peter Coombe, Jennifer Sage, Eunkyoung Kim, Charlene Chai, Kaitlin Faherty (Sage and Coombe Architects)
Artist Location: New York City, USA
Energy Technologies: point absorber buoy wave energy converter (CETO™ system developed by Carnegie Wave Energy), piezoelectric stacked actuators, Fresnel-assisted convection turbine
Annual Capacity: 2,800 MWh

Esther captures the ephemerality of motion through water and air, harnessing these elements to generate purified water and clean energy. The design is conceived as two parts, an underwater point absorber buoy that harvests wave energy, and a piezoelectric torque generator “mast” that collects wind energy as it sways above water.

This two-part design takes inspiration from synchronized swimming, as epitomized by the classic aqua-musicals of Esther Williams from the golden years of Hollywood in the 1940s and 1950s. Like the swimmers in an aquatic ballet, Esther elegantly moves in unison above and below water, creating a spectacle of the periodic movements of the tides and the forces of the wind. This dynamic movement is accentuated by the reflective fiberglass material, which creates a play of shadows across the surface of the water. At the same time, the water is mirrored on the masts, reflecting a fragment of the sea into the horizon. The form of the masts is derived from the abstraction of a synchronized swimmer’s leg and aerodynamic sailing spars.

The eccentric spacing created by the elliptical formation allows viewers from the Santa Monica Pier to understand the installation as an object rather than a non-directional field, much as the bodies of synchronized swimmers collectively form an elaborate pattern. The top of the masts light up at night allowing observers to enjoy the installation at all times of the day and in all weather conditions. The light is amplified by a Fresnel lens, which sits on top of the masts and powers a small solar updraft tower during the day.

A point absorber power buoy is just below the surface of each mast generating 100 kWh of electricity every day by harnessing the ever-present wave energy within the ocean.

The masts employ technology developed for the Windulum, a piezoelectric wind turbine that transforms wind into electricity without generators while eliminating any potential hazards to birds posed by traditional wind turbines.

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Aurora

Aurora a submission to the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica

Artist Team: Daniel Martin de los Rios and Fran Vilar Navarro (Pistach Office)
Artist Location: Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Energy Technologies: tidal turbine (similar to Open-Centre Turbine by OpenHydro™), SALt™ (Sustainable Alternative Lighting)
Water Harvesting Technologies: solar distillation (brine waste powers site lighting)
Annual Capacity: 30,000 MWh and 100 million liters of drinking water

Aurora gifts visitors a dreamlike and immersive experience of walking surrounded in a cloud with just the noise of the waves and the wind. The artworks makes palpable the ineffable, reachable the limitless, and measurable the invisible. It is a rich public space where multiple social and cultural activities can take place.

The wooden floor—an extension of the existing pier—represents stability. The cloud—coated with thermochromic paint—represents lightness and transparency. It is set up in elevation so as not to obscure the view from the beach to the horizon. Above the horizon line is a cloud that changes its shape, size, and appearance with the direction of the wind and temperature, causing boundaries to completely blur. The synesthetic impact of the artwork cannot be adequately captured with photography or film. It can only be experienced directly on location. It is formless, massless, dimensionless, and weightless. It speaks to the color of the sky, the reflection of the ocean, and the emotions of the visitors.

Aurora provides clean electricity with a tidal turbine, and drinkable water with solar distillation within the cloud. It is a hybrid system prefabricated in boxes that are set into the existing breakwater. Every element works together in a closed loop. The free flow underwater turbine system harnesses the ocean as a predictable and sustainable power source. The system transfers kinetic energy to electricity while minimizing visual impact. At the point of highest pressure is included an intake pipe to draw water up to the solar distillation process.

Following the distillation, drinking water is channeled for collection, while the brine goes to power lamps that use salt to generate electricity. The prefabricated boxes include the pillars that support the cloud along with the distillation tray and other integrated systems. The cloud works as a container of heat and water. The greenhouse effect creates a microclimate in which water evaporates and then condenses on the inside surface of the cloud skin. The Venturi effect drives the process by which water is conveyed to and from the distillation chamber.

The circle is complete, from the ocean to the sky, from the heaviness of the rock to the lightness of the air. The system is integrated as a modular, simple, and self-sufficient structure in which aesthetics, concept, energy production, and social aspects come together.

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