Future Metropolis Ecological Blueprint: Never Traffic Jam and Underground Super Power Grid

Future Metropolis Ecological Blueprint: Never Traffic Jam and Underground Super Power Grid

Introduction: The ecological blueprint designed for tomorrow's metropolis shows us fresh air, clean water, and a traffic system that will never stop traffic.

In the second half of this year, the world’s urban population will exceed half of the global population for the first time in history. And this development trend shows no sign of slowing down. By 2030, there will be more than 5 billion people living in the urban environment - the current figure is 3.3 billion - the rural population in developing countries is still pouring into the cities to seek better education and higher income jobs.

The inevitable result of this development is the big city. In Asia and Africa, this large-scale urban structure has begun to take shape. For example, Dongguan, Guangdong Province of China, is a typical example. It was only a medium-sized town 20 years ago and it now has a population of 7 million. A more extreme example is Lagos, the former capital of Nigeria. By 2015, its total population may reach 24 million, compared with only 3 million in the 1970s. This growth has brought about profound ecological problems.

A young metropolis may become a nightmare if they develop like Mexico City: In this city of 18 million people, poor quality water pipe network system loses 40% of drinking water, and every year because of air Residents who become ill due to pollution will lose a total of 2.5 million working days.

In fact, cities do not necessarily have to embark on this road of development. If they can plan well, their results will be very different.

The central planning of urban density and rationality is the primary issue and the first step in building an ecological living environment. Take New York, USA, for example: The carbon emissions caused by each New York City citizen are two-thirds lower than the average of the United States. This is mainly due to its public transportation system. The heating system in New York City is also very efficient, because it uses a radiant design that allows apartments to be shared with each other. There are also many important green bills, such as the proposal by New York City Mayor Mike Blumberg to reduce urban carbon emissions by 30% by 2030, which has also played an important role. For planners in those emerging cities that have long been aspire to such goals, this is the closest to ideal.

But what exactly is a perfect metropolis? In the next few pages, you will see some of the most ideal design solutions that scientists, engineers and designers bring. The solutions include automated, user-friendly buses, commuter traffic cabins floating in the air, skyscraper farms, direct-spray solar cells and tidal generators. Although some of them may take more than 50 years to be put into commercial use, they outline a future, that is, the use of green technology to make the city what it wants to become - self-sustainable sustainable development.


The city car of the City Car, which was driven by a public tram, was inspired by MIT researchers. It's like a shopping cart in a supermarket: You can drive one such two-seater from any major transportation node (such as a parking lot near a subway station) and drive it to another transportation station near your destination. Stop it there and continue your journey. Today's cars are stationary for 95% of the day, and they also occupy valuable parking spaces that can be folded when stored. The most appealing aspect of urban vehicles is that it provides a completely new way of energy consumption: it is charged through the solar panels on the roof, and it can also input excess energy into the city grid while parking.

Bus with no driver In order to reduce congestion and pollution, cities can use self-driving buses [2], which rely on hybrid power driven by biodiesel and electricity. Buses can be parked by passengers by tracking magnetic signs installed on specific lanes, while the central computer controls the selection of the most passengers' lines, frequency of departures and overall line capacity.

Relying on the road to generate electricity faster can also save energy. The wind turbines invented by the architect Mark Oberschitz will be arranged in the center of all roads, relying on winds rolled up from high-speed cars passing by to power the city grid.

Low Cost Permanent Magnet Magnetic Suspension Skytran, proposed by California's Unimodal Corporation, is a maglev rail transit system [3] that can operate according to actual needs. It can transport up to 14,400 passengers per hour - a figure equivalent to a three-lane highway. A separate two-seater cabin is hung on a single-track high-speed track, operating at speeds of up to 240 km/h. After arriving at their destination, they will be transferred to the parking lanes that are separated by 400 meters and lined up to arrive at the departure platform. The magnetic coils are arranged on the track, and permanent magnets are used instead of energy-consuming electromagnetic systems on the orbital module. The total cost of the entire system is approximately US$6.2 million per kilometer, which is only 1/10 of the current light rail system.

Seaweed Park's production of hydrogen Seaweed Power Park [15] is a pond of about 330 square meters with a special kind of seaweed cultivated by the University of California, Berkeley. Its capacity for producing hydrogen will reach one million times that of natural seaweed. In the facility at the bottom of the pond, the hydrogen released from the algae is deoxygenated and desulphurized and collected and filled into balloon-shaped tanks. The energy collected in each balloon is enough for 12 vehicles to run for a week.

Collecting stepping energy on the sidewalk Crowd Farm[4], an architect who conceived by architect James Graham and Teddyws Zhuskike, is a sidewalk that can generate electricity. Sidewalks throughout the city can gather countless steps of energy every day. stand up. It works like a DC motor: Under the influence of human body weight, the tiles installed on the sidewalk will slightly sink and squeeze each other. In the process, there is a device that converts the energy into electricity. If installed in a busy train station, the energy generated by Crowd Farm can be used to light 6,500 light-emitting diodes - enough for the station's lighting to use.

Food and water

Fewer than 1% of all available water resources on the fresh waters of the oceans can be consumed. The lack of clean water is one of the problems that the metropolis can hardly get rid of. Fortunately, Eric Hawker, a materials scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles, has created a seawater desalination system [16] that can turn the ocean into a huge water plant. Hawke's invention was a kind of tube film, each having a diameter of only one hundred thousandth of human hair. This size can prevent salt from passing, but pure water can be unimpeded. The coating made of a hydrophilic polymer helps water pass through the membrane while blocking other substances including bacteria. Hawker's early experiments showed that the efficiency of this film is 50% higher than the traditional distillation desalination system.

Pipeline robots leak leaks. Big cities like New York City waste 4% of their water resources, which is nearly 130,000 tons of water every day. In order to discover and repair leaking pipelines in time, researchers at the Woods Hole Ocean Institute have developed an automated underwater robot [5] equipped with video cameras and sonar to inspect water supply pipelines. High-rise crop farming is one of the culprits in global warming. Will organic food be better? Fossil fuels used in transportation and farming also offset their ecological benefits. A better solution is to grow agricultural products where we live. The concept of a vertical farm proposed by an Israeli company called Organitech is a 30-story, soilless cultivation oasis automatically managed by robots [6]. It can produce enough food and water to feed 50,000 people. The vegetables float on a styrofoam tray and the bottom track automatically regulates nutrients and can be moved to a planting, breeding, and harvesting station. Irrigation water comes from filtered sewer waste water and is purified through zebra mussels. In this way, water can provide nutrients for more than 100 different crops here.


The role of the external wall The foundation of this 10-story building [7] is based on the design of the French architect Jacques Ferrier, where ecological considerations can be seen everywhere. The external concrete grid structure is responsible for supporting the structural load of the entire building, covered with photovoltaic cells and rainwater pipes. Rainwater enters a central purification system and provides a clean source of water for the entire building. Wind turbines can be installed at the top of the building, while geothermal wells at the bottom can replace air conditioning and boilers. The constant temperature rock bed at the bottom of the building can cool water in the summer or warm it in the winter. Multifunctional bubble room

San Francisco’s IwamotoScott Construction Company conceived of such a residential building [8], which at the same time was also responsible for filtering the water and producing safe drinking tap water. The basis of this technology is a smart "water enclosure" - a thick, porous enclosure that encloses the front of the building. The rainwater pipe passes directly through the hollow structure inside, where it is purified by ultraviolet light. At the top of the building, a "pillow" filled with salt solution is installed. When the external environment is hot, the salt will become liquid to absorb heat, thus lowering the ambient temperature; when the outside is cold, it will solidify again and release. At the same time, heat can also play a role in thermal insulation.


Underground supergrid The Supergrid supergrid [9] proposed by Jace Aussel, Rockefeller University, combines superconducting cables with hydrogen pipelines. The cold liquid hydrogen, while passing through the pipeline network, can cool the cable and reduce the energy loss caused by the resistance. The pipeline also delivers hydrogen fuel to the transportation system at the same time and quickly.

Sprayable solar cells Almost every building can provide enough power for itself, and this depends on an inexpensive, direct-soldered solar cell [10]. The viscous solution invented by the chemist Sominash Mitra of New Jersey Institute of Technology contains two types of nanoparticles—one to catch sunlight and the other to convert it into electricity.

The existing wind turbine generators of high-efficiency wind power plants are limited by the mechanical system because the bearings therein often wear out. The magnetic levitation turbine [11] that appeared on WindPower Asia at the Asian Wind Energy Conference held in Beijing last year can solve this problem. A series of vertical blades are mounted on the permanent magnets, completely free of electromagnetic energy that requires energy. With the elimination of bearings, the friction will also be minimized and the turbine will start generating power when the wind is only 0.9 m/s. A single magnetic levitation turbine generator can provide enough electricity for 800,000 homes.

Tidal turbine generator

According to scientists' estimates, the ocean can provide 2 billion kilowatts of energy, which is equivalent to about 12% of the total energy consumption of the world today. One solution to this type of energy is the tidal turbine generator [12]. The marine power plant in Bristol, England, is installing the world’s largest tidal energy turbine generator in a strait off the coast of Ireland. The energy generated is enough for 1,000 households. Turbine units that are located at the deepest point on the ocean floor (depending on the local tidal conditions) can work like windmills, driving the rotation of the generator when the tide rises and propelling the propeller blades. When the tide is ebbing, it is only necessary to switch the direction of rotation. , but also to reverse the leaves continue to generate electricity. The next project to be built will be on the coast near Wales, which is a 10,500-kilowatt power plant with 7 turbines.

An alternative to generating power from waves is called Wavebob [13], which converts waves into electricity. The system has two basic components: one is a central cylinder that is mounted on a heavy object that is sunk in the sea, and the other is a ring-shaped light-weight floating object that wraps around the cylinder and can float on the surface of the sea. When the waves come in, the outer ring will surge up and down with the waves, moving much faster than the slow moving central cylinder. The two parts are connected by a hydraulic mechanism, and the relative movement between them will compress the oil in the hydraulic mechanism to drive the generator to run. The equipment monitors the conditions of the waves and adjusts the hydraulic resistance accordingly to optimize the efficiency of power generation. It will also actively separate the cylinder from the ring when the current is too rough and may tear the two parts to avoid damage. This summer, the company that invented the device will use a 1/4 scale prototype to conduct a full trial in Galway Bay, Ireland. By 2010, full-scale prototypes will be able to produce 1500 kilowatts of electricity. Andrew Paris, the company’s chief executive, said: “Where there are waves, where do we go?”

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