These ‘inverted skyscrapers’ harness a new type of energy from deep within our oceans

The idea of completely rejecting fossil fuels isn’t new, although there are multiple alternatives to take. Electricity, solar energy, hydrogen combustion, all prove to be incredible substitutes for ‘dirty’ fossil fuels, although some believe there’s another abundantly available alternative – combustible ice.

Combustible ice is found in large quantities at the bottom of our oceans. These ice-shaped masses are made when water and natural gas get frozen together. Also known as methane hydrate or flammable ice, this white snow-like mass burns to release water and methane as by-products, and some believe its abundance could help offset our current carbon crisis by shifting us to the next best thing.

The Drilling Water-Scraper is a conceptual architectural design that recieved an Honorable Mention at the 2020 eVolo Skyscraper Competition. The water-scrapers extend downwards to the ocean bed, mining it for combustible ice, while the upper half gathers plastic waste from the ocean, effectively cleaning it. There are two main moving lines in the building, the downward materials, and the upward energy. Among them, the energy tower transforms the plastic waste on the sea into 3D printing materials, and prints the building and energy tank down along the core cylinder, turning itself into a building with growth. Mined ice is pressurized and liquefied before being stored in the water-scraper’s energy tanks. Cargo ships make their way to the scrapers and collect this energy, bringing it to the cities.

Designers: Xuejun Bai, Chucheng Pang, Lei Zhai, Yuyang Sun & Dianao Liu