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National Runner Up

Papilio

An innovative street light, which tackles the impact of light pollution and uses a wind rotor to climate-neutrally generate the energy it consumes.

  • The PAPILIO street light during a long-term test in a street in Berlin.

  • The video describes the background, relevance and final result of the project.

    The video describes the background, relevance and final result of the project.

  • Two different, freely combinable mounting options for different requirements and beam angles.

  • Detail of the insect-friendly LED and the infrared sensor for demand-depending lighting control.

  • The street light was already temporarily installed next to a main street in Berlin.

  • Prototypes and pre-models to test and improve different rotor constructions.

What it does

The growing light pollution and energy consumption caused by street lights have a drastic impact on our planet. PAPILIO is an insect-friendly street light with intelligent lighting control that climate-neutrally generates electricity using a wind rotor.


Your inspiration

The main inspiration where recent studies on the effects of light pollution on humans, animals and plants. A visit of the IGB Institute's light research field in Havelland inspired me to rethink the problem from a design perspective. Having dealt intensively with street lights, I also noticed that they represent ideal prerequisites for generating wind power: They have an ideal height (since ground winds are strongest at a height of 3 to 6 meter), they exist numerously in our environment, they are firmly anchored in the ground and they are often surrounded by unexploited, anthropogenic energy flows, such as the air displaced by cars or trains.


How it works

PAPILIO functions as a “prosumer” for climate-neutral cities of the future: the product not only consumes energy, but also generates it from a regenerative source with a steadily increasing potential: the wind. The higher we build our cities, the windier they become. Therefore, integrated in the product is a lithium-ion battery and a rotor, for which the wind direction is irrelevant. Due to its diagonal orientation, the rotor works with vertical (natural wind) as well as horizontal air streams (e.g. airflow caused by cars). Moreover, the product is designed as a „full-cut-off“ lamp that only emits light downwards, while shielding it towards the night sky. With a color temperature of 2700 Kelvin, the used LED has a color spectrum that is much less attractive to insects. In addition, using a demand-dependent lighting control with infrared sensors, PAPILIO further minimizes energy consumption and light pollution. The light is only activated when actually needed.


Design process

The project started with creating various prototypes, which were tested with an anemometer and revolution counter at different locations to gradually improve the shape of the rotor. For developing the construction, it was important that the component in which generator and battery are integrated and the LED fixture are identical, in order to enable a simple, cost-effective production. In addition, I experimented with different types of batteries. A 30Ah battery is used for the final product, which allows to bridge up to three days of calm and makes it possible to operate PAPILIO completely autonomously without a necessity for expensive underground electricity infrastructure. Alternatively, the product can also be connected to an existing power grid in order to feed surplus energy during strong winds. To select a less harmful light spectrum, I cooperated with scientists from the TU Berlin, who explore the effects of different light sources on insects and other organisms. Lastly, I developed a principle in which the luminaire can be attached both to lampposts and to facades or trees. Therefore, there are two possible mounting options: pointing downwards to create a vertical light cone or the other way around to generate an obliquely incident light with a large-area illumination.


How it is different

According to studies by the German BMU ministry, around 19% of the entire global electricity is used for worldwide street lighting. In Germany alone, street lights cause annual CO2 emissions of around 2.5 million tons. A problem is that these lamps usually burn all night - regardless of whether they are actually needed, which leads to a continuous increase in light pollution of around 6% annually worldwide. Although energy-saving LED lanterns are becoming more and more popular, their light spectrum usually has a large blue component and is therefore particularly harmful to our circadian rhythm, for plants and animals. Every summer night in Germany alone, an average of 1.2 billion insects die only because of street lights. In comparison, PAPILIO reduces the ecological footprint and CO2 emissions of street lighting many times over, as the electricity is generated on the spot in a climate-neutral way and the light is switched off as soon as nobody needs it.


Future plans

There are already many requests and keen interest in the product, which proves a great demand — especially for windy regions close to coasts or mountains. The next step will be tests in wind tunnels to further optimize the shape of the rotor. Since PAPILIO is a new product typology, the legal basis would also have to be clarified so that nothing stands in the way of implementing the rotating object in public space. Since it is a complex technical product that combines many different professions — from lighting design to wind energy technology — I am looking for an interdisciplinary team to start a series production.


Awards

This is the first contest this technology is presented to.


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