Project's Summary

DEWelectric: Harnessing the Power of Water in the UAE

Water is a vital resource in the Arab world, and in the Arabic language, there are ten names for water based on its salinity and potability. From the bitterest and most saline water called "ujaj" to the clear, sweet, and cool water known as "zulal," water holds great significance. In the UAE, where freshwater is scarce, water conservation is highly valued and emphasized in Islamic teachings. However, water scarcity is a pressing issue globally, and the UAE is no exception. The country's natural water resources are projected to decrease by 16% in the next decade, necessitating the construction of more desalination plants. While desalination solves some problems, it also creates new challenges, such as high energy consumption and environmental impact.

To address these challenges, the architectural studio zeroplus has developed an innovative project called DEWelectric. Located on the coastal conditions of Site #2, DEWelectric combines beauty, simplicity, and function to produce clean water and efficient electrical power through biomimicry. Inspired by the Namib Desert beetle, which collects water from fog in the arid environment, DEWelectric's design mimics the beetle's water collection mechanism. The project consists of pneumatic condensers, a channeled walkway, and a shaded community gathering space.

Each pneumatic condenser in DEWelectric draws water from the air while generating electricity. The condensers are constructed from pneumatic tubes that circulate fluid cooled by seawater. When warm moist air reaches the tubes' surface, water vapor condenses on the colder textured tower, similar to the beetle's hydrophilic shell. The cooled fluid is then returned to the sea in a closed-loop system. The temperature difference creates a negative pressure that spins a wind turbine, generating electricity. With a total of 475 proposed towers, each tower would produce 180 kilowatt hours of electricity and 485 liters of water per day.

DEWelectric not only addresses the energy and water needs of the UAE but also mitigates environmental impact. Unlike traditional desalination plants, DEWelectric produces zero carbon emissions and minimizes disturbance to marine ecosystems. The cooling loop of the project is designed to nest in the existing dredged areas of the seabed, reducing impact and providing stable temperatures for cooling. The towers are carefully designed to touch down lightly, leaving much of the site untouched. The project creates microclimatic temperature zones, offering comfortable outdoor spaces for people to gather and explore the passive systems of DEWelectric.

In conclusion, DEWelectric is a groundbreaking project that harnesses the power of water to address the UAE's energy and water needs while minimizing environmental impact. Through biomimicry and innovative design, DEWelectric demonstrates the potential for sustainable and efficient energy production. This project not only provides clean water and electricity but also raises awareness about the importance of water conservation and the possibilities of passive water and energy harvesting. DEWelectric is a symbol of the UAE's commitment to finding sustainable solutions for the pressing challenges of water scarcity and energy consumption.

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