Solar-Powered Sculpture Could Desalinate 1.5 Billion Gallons of Drinking Water The finalists for the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative (LAGI) were recently announced and include “The Pipe,” giant swans that convert wave power into clean energy; a 40-metre high orb that appears to float on the ocean; and a hot air balloon sightseeing ride that generates solar power.

All of these innovative entries will generate either electricity or water while being aesthetically pleasing at the same time.

The LAGI design competition is an annual event and the theme for this year’s competition was to “come up with aesthetically pleasing concepts for electricity and clean water generation that could potentially be placed in the waters near Santa Monica Pier as examples that our increasing demands for power need not blight the landscape (or seascape).

The Pipe was designed by a Canadian engineering firm that specialises in designing processing plants for the food, drink and packaging industries. The Pipe is a glittering electromagnetic desalination device which is powered by the sun and capable of generating 10,000 MWh of electricity annually to power its electromagnetic filtration system which is capable of pumping out 5.6 billion litres of clean drinking water for the city over the same period.

The design brief explains that the result is two products; pure drinkable water that is directed into the city’s primary water piping grid, and clear water with 12% salinity. The salt-water is redirected back to the ocean via a smart release system, and the drinking water is piped to shore.

The Land Art Generator Initiative was founded by artist Elizabeth Monoian and her architect husband Rob Ferry in 2008 as a means of encouraging the design of public art installations that also produce clean energy.

The founders say, “Now, more than ever, energy and water are intertwined. As California faces severe water shortages in the coming years, the amount of energy required for water production and transmission is sure to increase. As the infrastructures that will cleanly power our future productivity become more prevalent in our commercial and residential centres, the issue of their aesthetic integration becomes more important. Power plants, once unseen and forgotten, will become an integral part of our daily lives.

The winner of LAGI 2016 will be announced on 6 October.

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