Hydrogen power is becoming an increasingly popular alternative energy source since it burns cleanly and its only emissions are water vapor and heat. The downside has always been the need for a considerable amount of energy to burn hydrogen fuel. While urine is one source recently found to cheaply and efficiently extract hydrogen from, there has to be something more powerful – ahem – or at least just something cooler.
The Hydra Tower, a concept skyscraper, channels lightning bolts to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. The futuristic and eerie looking exoskeleton is created from graphene, a carbon material 200 times stronger than steel and, of course, highly conductive to heat and electricity, allowing the structure to harness heaven-sent electricity.
Designed by Milos Vlastic, Vuk Djordjevic, Ana Lazovic, Milica Stankovic, the Hydra Tower received a mere Honorable Mention at 2011 Evolo Skyscraper Competition, alongside the Water-Scraper. With sights set for implementation in the tropics, where 70 percent of all lightning is said to occur, the designers felt the Hydra Tower would be best implemented in places such as Singapore, Central Fla., Venezuela, and Kifuka of the Dem. Republic of Congo. Inspired by the “hydra,” a simple freshwater animal possessing radial symmetry, the designers chose a twisting, dynamic form for the tower.
How it works: when the highly conductive graphene shell is struck by lightning, electricity is channeled into a massive array of batteries in the base of the spire. The energy obtained is used to split water molecules into hydrogen gas via electrolysis. The project also includes areas for scientists to work and live such as a research facility, housing, and recreational spaces. However, I imagine 1 billion volts of energy could really disrupt a game of pool.
For more info and graphics see: http://inventorspot.com/articles/hydra_tower_earth_shattering_skyscraper_harnesses_hydrogen_light