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Harnessing urban wind power: innovative building-integrated technology

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Urbanisation is one of the defining challenges of our times. With nearly 70 percent of the world’s population likely to live in cities by 2030, the quality of life experienced by the urban population will determine the global future.

With this in mind, the Cluster for Sustainable Cities, an interdisciplinary research hub based at the University of Portsmouth, brings together over 36 researchers from a wide range of disciplines across the University. Our Innovation Cluster is engaged in projects to deliver solutions for enhancing urban resilience to climate change through novel urbanisation models and the integration of new technologies.

Cluster for Sustainable Cities team
Prof Steffen Lehmann, Dr Dennis Majoe and David Majoe - Director of of MA Systems and Control Ltd, Dr Alessandro Melis; back row: Mr Walter Menteth and Mr Francis Graves from the Cluster for Sustainable Cities at the University of Portsmouth

Important to ensure public acceptance

We are currently working on a collaborative Innovate UK-funded ‘Emerging Technologies’ project, called Wind-ASSURE. This industry-driven collaboration is led by MA Systems and Control, however, we participate in order to explore the full potential for building-integrated urban wind power technology. We want to ensure public acceptance of the new technology and its architectural integration in urban developments, be it new-built or retrofit.

Turn any city into a power station

Isometric Green Power Energy Supply

The collaborative project is tackling one of today’s grand challenges: how to effectively generate renewable energy inside the city through decentralised systems that no longer have any rotating elements? Thanks to the emerging energy harvesting technology, the large rotor blades of wind turbine towers will become obsolete. The surplus generated energy can be fed into a smart grid, which will allow us to turn any city into a power station. A prototype will soon be installed in Southampton.

Outperform big wind turbines

This amazing technology is an alternative to the conventional wind turbine and it can use low wind speeds within built up areas. The technology is expected to outperform big turbines at much lower wind speeds; this is important, because low wind speeds are frequently found in urban areas. The new installation will be much more discreet and easier to integrate, compared to the massive wind turbines commonly used, allowing for new options for deployment in the urban context.

Industry/academic collaboration results in meaningful solutions

We are very keen to work more with innovation-driven industry partners and Innovate UK, as they allow us to be involved in cutting-edge R&D activities and contribute in a meaningful way to the sustainability and design integration aspects of novel urban solutions.

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