A renewable energy-powered work space in which renewables aren't part of the building infrastructure?
It might sound far-fetched, but in the hands of Werner Aisslinger and Nicole Losos of Studio Aisslinger, in Germany, it looks not only plausible but sleek and modern as well. Their Yill mobile energy unit recently won Red Dot's "Best of the Best" award for 2011.
The device looks vaguely like a little kick-drum, and charges up via any renewable energy powered charging station (or, less ideally, a regular old coal-powered one).
Once it's had its fill of juice (one kilowatt hour of electricity), the Yill can provide for the power needs of the typical cube-dweller for up to three days, powering a computer and various peripherals.
The unit was made for maximum mobility, as per its round shape. When you need to work elsewhere – or provide power for someone else – simply pop out the luggage-bag-style handle and pull it along behind you.
The ability to store and deliver energy in an office entirely independently from the building power grid is what Red Dot calls "an innovative and highly contemporary concept."
In naming this device the "Best of the Best" in product design, the jury took a stand for renewable energy and eco-design in general. According to the jury, the Yill presents itself as "a sound, flexible and aesthetic outcome of a business idea."
The Yill Mobile Energy Storage Unit is manufactured by Younicos, and was designed for use in powering recreational laptop spaces as well as workspaces.