Dezeen Magazine

Video reveals trial of smoke-ring-blowing chimney for BIG's Copenhagen power plant

News: as construction of BIG's Amager Bakke Waste-to-Energy Plant continues in Copenhagen, a video has surfaced showing a successful trial for the building's smoke-ring-blowing chimney (+ movie).


Designed by Bjarke Ingel's firm to replace the 40-year-old Amagerforbraending facility, the combined power plant and ski slope will generate power by incinerating waste.

To remind local residents of their carbon footprint, the building will emit a so-called smoke ring every time 250 kilograms of carbon dioxide has been released into the atmosphere. These rings – which will actually be vapour rather than smoke – will be expelled through a 124-metre-high chimney at the peak of the roof.

Amager Bakke Waste-to-Energy Plant by BIG

The movie uploaded to Vimeo by Wired journalist Cliff Kuang shows a trial that took place in August, in which a scaled-down prototype of the chimney demonstrates the process. After a cannon-like blast, the funnel emits a dense ring of vapour that floats up into the sky.

According to Danish news site Ingeniøren, BIG has been working with Danish aerospace engineer Peter Madsen, co-founder of non-profit organisation Copenhagen Suborbitals, on the latest prototype. Another major test was reportedly due to take place today in Refshaleøen, north-east Copenhagen.


The exhaust system was originally conceived in collaboration with German artist group Realities United, to serve as a visual reminder of the results of endless consumption and waste.

The smokestack will use an elastic mechanism to release steam rings that measure 25 metres in diameter and three metres in height.


Each ring is expected to be visible for approximately 45 seconds, depending on the conditions. Those released at night will be illuminated by lasers connected to a heat-sensitive tracking system.

The Amager Bakke Waste-to-Energy Plant is due to complete in 2016. Speaking to Dezeen last summer, Bjarke Ingels said the project will "transform people's perceptions" about public utility buildings.


"Right now you can say it's a science-fiction idea to have a power plant with smoke rings and ski slopes, but in three years they will ski on their power plants in Denmark," he said.

"It's going to be so clean that the smoke coming out of the chimney is completely non-toxic," Ingels added. "The smoke coming out of the chimney is going to come out in the form of smoke rings so you can see how much carbon dioxide emission there is – to make the something uncountable countable."

Diagram showing how the smoke-ring-blowing chimney will work

Earlier today BIG was also revealed to be working with Thomas Heatherwick on a new California headquarters for Google. Other recent projects unveiled by the firm include a loop-shaped country house and a recycling facility within a man-made hill.