Au Revoir Eiffel Tower. Bonjour Moulin Tricolore

by European correspondents Ahmed Butrosghali (Calais), Yvonne Rückenkratzer (Vaduz), Menno van Spijkergraf (Hilversum), Dieter Ditteldiestel (Düsseldorf) and Sven-Erik Østermark (Wroclaw)


The quarter of Paris to be rejuvinated and energised.

The Eiffel Tower is to be dismantled in the lead up to IPCC’s COP21 at the end of November this year, symbolising France’s contribution to the lowering of carbon emissions.

France’s President François Hollande was delighted to announce planning approval has been granted by the City for a more appropriate 300-metre tall, 12 megawatt wind turbine tower to be installed in its place. Already dubbed Moulin Tricolore by passionate and popular acclaim, the structure is to be completed and opened to the public on Bastille Day, 2020. The complete success of the two wind turbines installed within the old Eiffel Tower earlier this year had encouraged government, environmentalists and city planners to tackle climate change in a big way.

Planners propose to temporarily bury the Arc de Triomphe and much of the Champs-Élysées under sand imported from Algeria to facilitate the transport of the wind turbine’s tower and blades being manufactured in Belgium and other European neighbours. A temporary railway freight line will run mainly above Avenue de Wagram and along the Champs-Élysées before crossing the river near Invalides, then following the line of Place Joffre to the construction zone to be established on Champs de Mars.

Buildings that are to be covered by the sand for the railway embankment will be filled with expanding urethane foam to prevent their collapse and possible derailments. Sika Group, suppliers of the expanding foam, have assured planners of minimal damage if all building cavities are filled and the walls and ceilings are dampened before the foam expands fully. Residents are however encouraged to first remove soft furnishings and pets before the spaces are conserved.

To avoid any introduction of pests via the sands from Algeria, France will dip into its repository of a quarter of a million tons of Australian monazite tailings from rare earth element extraction, using the Thorium’s radioactivity to sterilise the sands. Tailings will be shipped to Algeria for blending with the Algerian sands as the sands are being loaded into bulk freighters. According to the Linear No Threshold (LNT) models, the transit time of 2 weeks to Paris is projected to kill any latent pests and microbes.

According to Bureau pour le Plaisir, l’information et les Loisirs des Visiteurs pour le Plaisir et Intérêts à Paris (Tourism Paris) real excitement awaits visitors to Paris even before Moulin Tricolore is completed:

There is to be 2500 metres of raised aqueduct between Pont de la Concorde and Pont de Bir Hakheim facilitating diversion of the River Seine during the construction period. Supported by steel trestles whose footings will rest on piles to be driven between 20 and 60 metres deep into the bed of the river. The aqueduct formed by two parallel, steel, half-pipes; each 9 metres in diameter, will be some 30 metres above the present level of the river. The river’s water is to be lifted from behind the upstream coffer dam by two bucket lifts with chain-connected buckets each carrying up to 120 thousand litres. Water will then flow along the aqueduct to a discharge point behind another, downstream coffer dam. Water turbines will generate electricity from the 30 metre fall of water to power the bucket lift at the upstream end.

Nicole Désemparés of the Bureau said that she was extremely excited because the construction of the aqueduct reflected very much the history of the Eiffel Tower which’d been constructed as a temporary feature for the 1889 World Fair. Further, she said that the Bureau was inviting expressions of interest for adventure rafting operators to use the aqueduct as the 120 cubic metres of water being dumped into each one would produce exciting waves around the clock for a thrilling ride; perhaps even under lights. But “Construction à l’attraction!” exclaims Nicole. “Millions will flock just to see the construction works” she says; “just like the thousands flocking to witness the dizzying construction activities of Berlin’s new airport, people will pay money just to smell the dust.”

Paris City Architect Albert J’Avelin IV who co-conceived the master plan is equally excited about substantially reshaping the city’s skyline after more than a century in the doldrums. In addition to the active amusements provided by the aqueduct, he anticipates that the less adventurous tourists will enjoy their strolls along the new railway embankments, perhaps pausing on the South-facing slopes to catch up on their tan. The City Architect’s office is to be contacted to bid for leasing of plots on the railway embankments. South-facing plots are expected to draw a premium price.

Not only will a short section of the River Seine be drained. Some Metro lines and sewers also closed to enable the construction of the 20-metre deep concrete footings of Moulin Tricolore, heralded by construction company Leighton-Hochtief as “More reinforced concrete than that poured for all the Atlantic defences of Fortress Europe.”

The flow of concrete doesn’t stop there: A collaborative effort between EU nations will have the tower constructed in three distinct sections; the lower 100 metres in reinforced concrete; a middle 100 metres from European steels and the upper 100 metres from composite fibres; symbolic of the unity of construction materials over the ages. Leighton-Hochtief will continuously cast the reinforced concrete in a helical pattern following an efficient, parabolic profile. The rate of concrete flow necessitates the construction of a temporary, on-site concrete-making facility; and the drained bed of the River Seine is an ideal location, providing also for large stockpiles of raw materials to assure supply especially during for the initial stages of the pour.

A specially-developed stainless steel of white appearance will be supplied by ArcelorMittal of Luxembourg for the project. The alloy has a white appearance without any paint, thanks to Palladium metal in the alloy from recycled automotive catalytic converters. When completed, there will be a total of about 8 tonnes of Palladium in Moulin Tricolore. The steel sections of tower will be built in Belgian factories in sections of 20, 30 and 50 metres, delivered to site by rail. ArcelorMittal’s CEO Lakshmi Mittal said that this new stainless steel pushed well out of the envelope in value-adding; to a level necessary to sustain steel production in Europe.

The top section of the tower will be provided by Airbus Industrie, leveraging its experience in hyperbolic spinning and the facilities being extended for the as yet unnamed successor to the Airbus A380. Airbus Industrie plans to spin and weave a single carbon fibre to form the core of the 100 metre section of the tower. Aramid and glass fibres will woven in to provide structural resilience and weather resistance. The company will also be providing the aerodynamic nacelle housing for the top of the tower, employing state of the art aerospace technology in its materials and construction.

A “jumping jack” crane inside the tower is to raise each section of the tower above itself; to be bolted onto the structure below; much like putting on a hat. The same crane will similarly lift the wind turbine’s main shaft and generating gear to the top, all pre-assembled into the nacelle.

U.S. President Barack Hussein Obama is expected to gift the copper cladding from the Statue of Liberty in New York on Bastille Day this year; for use in the wind turbine’s generator and, more importantly, as a symbol of enduring brotherhood and liberty.

Manufacture of each of the 164-metre long wind turbine blades requires similar capabilities to those of aircraft makers. Airbus’ facilities in Broughton. Wales are more accustomed to making aircraft wings for Airbus but their skill set can be equally applied to make the “wings” of a wind turbine. In a factory that built the world’s first real jet airliner, the Comet, each “wing” will be made in 3 sections to be assembled on site before being winched and bolted to the hub.

Each wing will be hoisted to the top of the tower via an extension to the turbine’s main shaft that will be rotated by motoring the generating gear in the nacelle.

Project publicity manager for the main electrical supplier Siemens, Armin von Mirgetts-Schrecklich said that the company was excited about the prospect of building a landmark that would endure the centuries and provide electricity for quite a few years. This wind turbine is so far the biggest ever planned and is likely to be the largest ever built on land for a very long time. It wasn’t only the size of the wind turbine that excited Siemens; it’s also the multi-role features of the installation: Not only will Moulin Tricolore generate electricity when it’s windy, it can be used to provide a gentle breeze on otherwise calm days, reducing the effects of city pollutants and urban heat in summer. A warm, effet de foehn will result from the heating and rotation of blades to avert the formation of ice during cold weather.

As it’s not just the blades that’d suffer in cold weather, with lubricants and hydraulic oils freezing, Areva NC will be supplying “PUFF1 buckets” for the machine floor of the nacelle, producing sufficient decay heat to prevent freezing of the equipment even in the coldest winter; just in case there is no wind and the external electricity supply fails. The PUFF buckets will be replaced every 2 years with fresh stock from Areva’s plant in Ugine.

Siemens has persuaded Airbus to incorporate hundreds thousands of networked RGB colour LEDs into each blade, providing not just a colourful night-time display but a virtual billboard more than 320 metres in diameter that can be captured by time exposure on tourists’ cameras. Thousands of networked microprocessors will switch the high-intensity colour LEDs on and off to “paint” a picture visible to cameras at night time. Such displays can be used not just for promoting the city, but also products. BAYER (Pharmaceuticals) has already expressed great interest at “billboard time” on opening night to promote its most famous product; Aspirin. Many other companies have circular logos so there is a large advertising market waiting to be tapped.

Moulin Tricolore will offer another a useful feature for all residents and visitors to the city; even those without a camera: When the bells ring on Notre Dame, the turbine will stop rotating for one minute with its red blade pointing in the clock-face direction of the corresponding hour. The three blades are coloured to match the French flag; Le Tricolore: Red, white and blue.

Once Moulin Tricolore has opened, visitors who miss the viewing platforms from the Eiffel Tower of old will be able to enjoy similar views in a safer environment thanks to virtual motion and presence (VMAP) in the visitor’s space below the tower. Thales Group’s VMAP will give paying visitors the ablility to step into an “elevator” and to ride it to a virtual platform of their choosing. Hydraulics will provide the sensation of moving while images from around the tower at the equivalent height will fill the enveloping screens. Visitors can then step “out” onto virtual platforms and enjoy a perfect view of Paris from the chosen height, regardless of the weather and the time of day, thanks to computer graphic image enhancement.

So in future, if you have only the day to visit Paris but want to see the city at night, then take a ride “up” Moulin Tricolore and select the night-time view and season you wish to experience. It’s not like being there, it is being there. And a lot more people can be there at the same time because there will be six virtual viewing platforms within the footings of the tower. Only the occasional rumble of the Metro running above would give away the deception; though software engineers promise that they can put the image of an aircraft in the sky of the virtual platforms to make it equally natural. Unfortunately, their libraries currently only hold high resolution models of Heinkel He-111 and Junkers Ju-87 aircraft.

The City has already embraced VMAP saying that it’ll almost completely eliminate suicide attempts by people jumping off the tower. Any who still try, will simply be caught by the flexible, transparent plastic sheets around the virtual platforms suffering at worst; some disappointment.

Below Moulin Tricolore, the Champs de Mars is to be re-planted with 6000 “solar trees” comprised of small PV panels on articulated branches, each also able to move and thus capture energy from the pressure pulses generated by the blades of the wind turbine as they pass the tower at the end of the park.

Footpaths and cycle ways are to be paved with solar panels provided by Arc International with paving slabs produced using the same proven, robust process as in Arcopal dinnerware. Recognizing that solar panels need to be kept clean to be effective, Thales Group is being tasked with developing a solar-powered, automatic cleaning systems to maintain those surfaces, around the clock. Thales media representative Aucune Étincelle stated that the company was confident in maintaining the cleanliness by employing a set of surveillance cameras that could detect a flyspeck at 100 metres. Software would then optimally dispatch one or more cleaning machines appropriate for the job, even disposing of any removed debris according to the type of debris. With real-time image processing and applied Artificial Intelligence, it will be possible to dispatch automatons to remove litter before it made its way onto the solar paths; and even became litter.

Some preparations for the opening of Moulin Tricolore on Bastille Day 2020 are already underway. La Société Homéopathique is collaborating with Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to collect bird species from all over the world to breed them to be wind-turbine-tolerant (WTT). A quarter of a million of them are expected to be released from 7e arrondissement de Paris, Palais-Bourbon at 10 a.m. on the 14th of July. WWF sees this as an opportunity to assure the survival of the many rare, endangered and threatened species confronted by climate change; setting up a global programme to capture examples to be bred to be WTT.

Project funding is assured as international citizen Christine Lagarde, known for her money making abilities within the IMF, has graciously accepted the role of financial manager for the giga-project, estimated to cost around €800-billion. EU and IMF funding is much easier with a renewable energy project than e.g. building the 400 coal-fired power stations in Africa for which the same money could pay. Lagarde’s deputy, Connie Hedegaard said, reading from a prepared statement, that “Reducing carbon addiction in the developed world is more important for the environment than providing electricity to people who’ve never seen it before. Were those fossil-fuelled power stations built in Africa, hundreds of millions of innocent Africans could become addicted to carbon-based, cheap, reliable and plentiful energy, accelerating the climate catastrophe.”

Lagarde added that once the first €100-billion had been loaned, that further loans would be inevitable to assure the successful outcome projected for the first €100-billion.

A significant part of the loans is expected to be repaid from post-construction resource recovery.

  • Sections of the original Eiffel Tower will be auctioned off with a base reserve price of €100/kg from what was at ground level, increasing to €400/kg at the top of the tower. A return of €15-billion is expected from the sale of the 7300 tonnes of iron, especially considering the few sections featuring the names of renowned French scientists.
  • Sand from railway embankments will be sold to coastal resorts for beaches threatened by rising sea levels. The self-sterilising sands are expected to attract tourists sensitive to threats of infection and will therefore draw a premium price.
  • Aqueduct sections will be converted to housing for up to 56,000 climate refugees and migrants awaiting a Channel crossing at Calais. Costs will be minimised by partitioning off 18-metre sections of the aqueduct while still in place and then cutting them off, allowing them to be lowered and floated downstream on the re-flooded Seine to Calais where conversion can be completed.
  • Urethane foam extracted from building interiors is to be salvaged to make personal flotation devices, potentially saving many of the hundreds of millions of lives threatened by rising seas. The irradiation from the sands for half a decade will preserve the life preservers beyond the end of the century.

Paris Mayor Anne Quixano-Hidalgo was at first critical of the scale, the impost and the cost of the project until she awoke one night from a dream where a voice on the wind whispered to her in Spanish: “Build it and they will come.”

1PUFF – Previously Used Fission Fuel

Temporary Metro and above-ground line closures. (Provisional):

Part A: Line Closures for Tower Footings. November 2015 to January 2019:

  • Line 10: La Motte-Picquet Grenelle to Javel
  • Line 6: La Motte-Picquet Grenelle to Trocadéro
  • Line RER C: Javel to Invalides

Part B: Station Closures for Tower Transport and Ramps. January 2017 to April 2020:

  • Wagram, Ternes, Charles de Gaulle – Etoile
  • George V, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Champs Élysées Clemenceau, Concorde, Tuileries
  • Invalides, La Tour-Maubourg, Ecole Militaire
  • Assemblée Nationale
  • Pont de I’Alma

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