To decrease the pollution in Taiwan and optimize the production of electricity, MEPM Lab proposes ‘Recrystallization’, an alternative way to build a power plant as part of Hsints Ecological Power Plant competition. While now 50% of energy in the state is generated by coal firing, the architects’ concept is to create a new balance by decomposing the system and its energy flows.
‘For us, our concept of recrystallization is keeping the local, natural, social and historical elements of the site,’ explains the team. ‘Letting the habitat develop naturally, purifying the environment, and changing the system to one where local communities get greater benefits from the operations of the plant.’
Heat left over from the turbine generators will go into the economic cycle to warm the local fish farms, or into the social cycle to be reused by the local community. There will be no CO2 or particles, such as PM2.5 or PM10 released from the plant — they will be captured on site. Even though it is impossible for the site to be carbon neutral, because the energy generated is transmitted and used off-site, our proposed plan utilises virtually the entire plant as a carbon sink to maximize carbon sequestration naturally. A next-generation power plant should play the role of ‘recrystallizing’ the original elements of its location, including habitat, nature, and social welfare.
The eco-friendly power plant is located on the least environmentally sensitive part of the site and is hidden by a natural skin. Three centralized air chimneys provide a green structure to serve both energy and ecological purposes. The plant forms a shape that follows the seasonal air current, which will lead the migrating birds down into the diverse wetland habitats.
From the roof level, it can be seen how the plant itself is, in fact, a carbon sink — solar panels on the top will be repositioned from the photovoltaic system currently located in the southwest of the site. Below the solar panels is a double skin green façade that connects to the centralized chimneys. The inner layer of the skin protects the power plant, and the outer layer will provide space for plants and maximize carbon sequestration. Airflow between the layers will reduce the building temperature, provide natural ventilation for wetlands, and change the local micro-climate to improve air quality.
From the ground level, diverse wetlands, open water, ponds, marshes, and mangroves will be restored based on natural wildlife habitats. The sociocultural life of local communities will be reconnected to the site through various activities. People will enjoy sports, swimming, walking, and bird watching in a natural setting without visual and noise disturbance from the plant.
MEPM lab’s design uses a topographical approach which forms a harmonious earth-scape that blends human activities safely into the site. The site will welcome visitors to get close to the natural environment, learn about local history, and understand the process of power generation. The architects believe this will help people to understand the value of electricity whenever they turn on the lights.