Sustainable wind power for remote shelters idea

Wind powered charging, biodiversity and shelters for hikers

By Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org

Hiking in remote areas off grid can be a challenge for hikers depending on GPS powered maps, smartphones and other digital devices that both make hiking more secure and make it easier for rescue teams to find people in trouble – But one of the huge challenges is how to design and develop solutions that can power the off-grid shelters and huts where the hikers sleep,  with electricity – Not only in sustainable ways but also in ways that helps nature and biodiversity. I set myself the challenge to sketch up ideas for a biodiversity friendly wind turbine today

design for a biodiversity wind turbine
Sketch of coastal shelter with a off-shore wind island

I was wondering about charging hiking-gear today, when planning a coastal hike I came to think about if it was possible to design a off-grid power-solution for hikers, the hikers didn’t have to carry themselves.  On coastal trails hikers follows remote small trails and often windy beaches between the sleeping areas – I decided to brainstorm on a few designs where I would try to combine the traditional off-shore wind turbine with an upgrade making it boost, not only hikers, but also biodiversity

When out hiking I have seen many off-shore wind-turbines, huge industrial structures, not very nature-friendly, but they are creating sustainable electricity, and electricity is something more and more hikers are depending on out on the trails.

In the future this will be even more necessary as maps and networks all will be digitized. But there are also other things that is good about creating solutions for hikers to charge their devices along the trails.

If there is free charging of gear in the designated camp-areas people will be more likely to use them, and it will create a synergy where social life, thrive, hikers relating and being aware of other hikers will make both the trail-life better, and the problem of litter, accidents, forest fires etc. less a risk.

The other thing is that if something works for hikers out on the trails it might also work for a lot of other people too: both for the cities, the poor countries and the people living in nature far away from the grid in sustainable ways.

So I took out my pencil and began sketching up ideas for sustainable off-shore, biodiversity friendly wind-turbines. Structures that could produce electricity and also work as nurseries for fish, birds and sea mammals like seals and sea otters. Design ideas to boost biodiversity, safety and hiking at the same time.

First I worked with using an already existing, classic wind-turbine structure – upgrading it for better biodiversity:

off shore wind turbine with biodiversity boosting add on
Upgrading existing design with biodiversity structure

Then I thought maybe it would be possible to design a structure that would always turn to the wind, and at the same time give wind shelter for birds and mammals away from the wind:

Concept for a floating wind turbine with biodiversity
Floating wind turbine designed to maximize biodiversity on the structure

Then I thought maybe it would be possible to design the structure to work as a light-weight bow, turning with the wind and with places for plants and birds, fish and mammals too:

Drawing of a biodiversity wind turbine shaped as a bow
Bow shaped floating off-shore wind turbine with biodiversity habitat on the whole structure

Then I came to think of the coral atolls and lagoons, with their special protected habitat areas in a zone between the inner and outer structure. A place where fragile lifeforms and young individuals can find protection from predators and storms.  Sketched this wind turbine up as a floating build island and colored it up in red and white to make it a landmark for hikers too, so they can see where the shelter is from afar.

Sketch for a lagoon shaped off-shore wind turbine maximizing biodiversity
Lagoon version of floating biodiversity wind turbine design

I know there are a lot of designs for sustainable solutions, individual solar chargers, spare batteries for hikers out on the marked. But just wondered if we could design something that would make it possible to hike ultra light and just meet up with the other hikers in the evening. sharing stories and also being able to charge the digital devices that we all are getting more and more depending on.

The drawings / ideas are free to use under CreativeCommons license.

Text, ideas, thoughts and drawings by Frits Ahlefeldt, Hiking.org