SunBath

SunBath
Submission to the 2014 Land Art Generator Initiative Copenhagen design competition

Artist Team: Jacob Boswell, David Shimmel, Ian Mackay
Artist Location: Columbus (OH), USA
Energy Technologies: solar pond, thermoelectric generators


SunBath offers a series of large, public, indoor and outdoor baths, both hot and cold, encircling and actively participating in a working power plant. The site thus becomes a type of liminal space, blurring the distinction between land and water while also challenging the false dichotomy of a productive vs. a pleasure landscape.

Energy is generated at SunBath through the interactions between five key elements:

1. The Solar Pond
A 14,700 m2 salt gradient solar pond is covered by a greenhouse to prevent disturbance of the water and to aid in the maintenance of its internal temperature.

2. The Catalyzing Pool
In a typical solar pond installation, heat from the pond is used as part of a district heating operation or passed through a standard heat engine to produce electricity. At SunBath, heat from the solar pond is transferred to a catalyzing pool via a series of heat pipes.


3. The Minto Wheel
Cold water from the harbor is pumped into the catalyzing pool via the Minto wheel and used to continuously cool the condensing end of the heat pipes. It is at this threshold between the hot pipes and the cold harbor water that electricity is generated. This is accomplished via a series of Seebeck Thermo Electric Generators (TEGs).

4. The Attenuating Pool
Partially warmed water flows from the catalyzing pool to the attenuating pool, the heated water of which powers the Minto wheel. This cycle creates a self-regulating system.

5. The Harbor
The harbor and the consistently cold water fed to it by the Øresund are the true source of power on the site. The mechanism for producing electricity at SunBath is not purely solar heat, but rather the difference in temperature between the warm side of the thermoelectric generator (the solar pond) and the cold side (the harbor water). The colder the harbor is, the more electricity the SunBath generates.

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