Before the 1930's, Glasgow and Edinburgh were connected via a series of locks which had stopped functioning. Under the British Millennium Project several plans were proposed for linking the canals. The Falkirk Wheel was chosen as the winning suggestion and construction started in the summer of 2000.
The Falkirk Wheel has an overall diameter of 35 meters with two opposing arms, each extending 15 meters from the central axle. On each side of the axle there is a large caisson carrying approximately 300 tons of water and ships. The caissons are balanced at all times, even when they are not carrying a full load. One of the interesting features of the Falkirk Wheel is its very low power consumption. Despite its size, it takes the giant wheel only slightly over 5 minutes to perform a 180 degrees turn.
Another astonishing fact regarding the Falkirk Wheel is its power consumption. Because of the way it is built it requires only 22.5 kW of power, making it both aesthetic and friendly to the environment.
TFOT recently covered another unique architectural structure which has a 'green' bonus – the Jubilee Church in Rome, designed by the renowned architect Richard Meier. The Jubilee Church is covered by a special coating of titanium dioxide that was applied in order to maintain its shiny white color, but apparently also performs oxidation of organic contaminants when exposed to UV light from the sun, thus cleaning the air around it.
The Falkirk Wheel website includes more information for potential visitors. A video showing the Falkirk Wheel in action can be seen here.