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The Eiffel Tower lights up on renewable energy for the first time5 min read

June 2, 2021 4 min read


The Eiffel Tower lights up on renewable energy for the first time5 min read

Reading Time: 4 minutes

There seems to be a universal consensus on the beauty of the Eiffel Tower! People flock to Paris to witness this architectural marvel. Let’s see how much you know about it. Take this quiz:

You already know the A, B, and C of the Eiffel Tower. But did you know that it lights up and sparkles?

Image: Giphy | SETE – Illuminations Pierre Bideau

The Eiffel Tower lights up for 5 minutes ever hour after dusk all the way till 1:00 A.M. This process is called Illuminations.

A short rewind with Owliver:

Even though it is the tower’s most riveting quality, no one is allowed to photograph Illuminations at night.

Here’s why:

The Illuminations are considered a work of art, and as such are preserved under copyright laws. A copyright is a legal right given to the creator of a piece of art where he/she are the only ones to reproduce, publish, and sell the contents and form of a literary or artistic work. According to the European Copyright Law, this authority rests with the artists in their lifetimes, and seventy years after.
The tower was created by Gustave Eiffel (hence, the name) who passed away in 1923. So, ideally, by 1993 photographing the tower at night should not have caused any trouble. But Illuminations was added to the tower by Pierre Bordeau in 1985. So, it stands even today.
It might just be a good reason to keep one’s phone aside and be in the moment!

On several occasions, the Tower has lit up to convey something special. For instance, the Tower was illuminated with the colours of South Africa for Nelson Mandela International Day from May 28 to June 2, 2013, and again from June 15-16, 2013. On November 4, 2016, the Eiffel Tower was illuminated in green to celebrate the certain implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement.

On May 25th, the Tower lit up again, but this time using renewable hydrogen energy! Watch the show, here:

This demonstration was part of the “Paris de l’hydrogène” event organized by Energy Observer.

How did it happen?

20,000 light bulbs make up the Eiffel Tower. It lights up every evening annually consuming energy equivalent to that of a small village. Ever since 2012, several measures have been made to make this building even more beautiful by making it environment friendly! As part of a £19.7 million renovation project, the Eiffel Tower was fitted with solar panels, wind & water turbines. Provisions were also made to store and utilise rainwater.

In a landmark moment, even its bedazzling spectacles of light was made environment friendly with the switch to hydrogen.

What is renewable hydrogen energy?

When energy is produced through renewable sources like solar, wind etc, electricity is produced. When the electricity produced is more than what is needed, the surplus is passed through water (H2O) causing it to split between hydrogen and oxygen. This is done through a process called electrolysis.

If you are curious about electrolysis, watch this video:

The separated hydrogen is preserved in a pressurized tank. This hydrogen can later be sent to fuel cells. Fuel cells are spaces that turn the chemical energy of a fuel into electricity.

And this is how renewable hydrogen energy is created. The best part about this energy is that its surplus furnishes its own need!

Owliver’s Obscure Observations:

Illuminations was meant to be a temporary feature to ring in the new millennium (2000). But it became a permanent fixture in 2003. Even the Eiffel Tower was seen as a temporary addition to the beauty of France. But it was retained as it turned out to be extremely useful as a radiotelegraph station during the World War II. In fact, even today it continues to play an important role in radio and television broadcasts.

The Eiffel Tower was lit up using a green source of energy after 113 years! This process was made possible by Air Liquide that supplied 400 kilograms of renewable H2 for the event. This supply was used for powering the whole exhibition village during the duration of the event, and for the illuminations and laser show. The hydrogen energy equipment used for the event was a generator supplied by Energy Observer Developments. The generator worked in the same as a diesel generator might have worked but it offered an effective and greener alternative.

Supporting Energy Observer by lighting up the Eiffel Tower with renewable hydrogen is above all a symbol, but also an illustration that the solution exists, and that we must collectively pursue initiatives to develop a hydrogen society, with large-scale projects in France and throughout the world.

Matthieu Giard, vice president of Air Liquide, for hydrogen fuel news

Owliver earlier brought to you the news of the Empire State Building going green. This news from France is a welcome change, just like that one.

This is a happy reminder that big changes can be made to ensure that our beautiful planet continues to sparkle in its glory!

Image: Giphy

Sourced from Tour Eiffel, History, Hydrogen Fuel News, Conde Nast, and The Guardian

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