Wind turbines with solar panels to save festivals thousands on diesel

The Eindhoven University of Technology designed a sustainable alternative for the diesel and petrol generators used at festivals - a collapsible wind turbine that comes equipped with solar panels and a battery for energy storage. The GEM tower will be tested for the first time at the Pukkelpop festival in Hasselt, Belgium nine days from now, NOS reports.

Festivals have great need of stable, safe power supply that can be built and dismantled quickly. Currently they mainly use generators. A festival like Lowlands uses more than 100 thousand liters of diesel, and thousands of liters of gasoline in three days. 

The GEM tower, which stands for Green Energy Mill, stands about 21 meters high with a wind turbine on top and colored solar panels on its three sides. The colored panels are both festive and functional - they are sensitive to different types of light. At the bottom of the tower is a battery that stores the energy. When it is dismantled and packed up, the GEM tower can easily fit onto a small truck. 

Pukkelpop in Belgium is the first festival that will test the tower. "We have a luxury campsite at Pukkelpop. We will try it out there", the festival's safety officer Raf Verjans said to NOS. "We will use it for the catering, the power supply in the different bars, and for the lighting." He is hopeful for a good outcome. "We quickly use 150 thousand liters of diesel, and there are few or no reliable alternatives."

After Pukkelpop, the GEM tower will be tested at the Dutch Design week in October. And a great deal of other festivals and events also showed interest. "We have been approached by Formula 1, by the start of the Vuelta, and so on. All parties that are following the tests that we are now doing and would like to participate", project leader Faas Moonen of TU Eindhoven said to the broadcaster. 

Moonen thinks that a reasonably-sized festival will need eight or nine towers to provide all its energy, though that can only be said with certainty after the tests. 

"It is already a win that even the organizers of large events start to think about alternatives to polluting. That is already a big step forwards", Moonen said.

Two Defense employees attended the presentation of the GEM tower in Eindhoven on Monday. "We are from the Energy Transition Department", one said to NOS. "At Defense we want to have as many of our camps as energy-efficient as possible in 2050." His only other comment was that the colors of the solar panels will have to be toned down for Defense use.