The Future of Urban Energy May Be Tree-Shaped Wind Turbines

 

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It happens so rarely, but occasionally brilliant innovators collaborate on a project that perfectly merges beautiful design and functionality to create a product that can have a real impact on the world.  That is just what the French design company New Wind accomplished when faced with bringing clean wind energy to urban settings.

WindTree6Just about everyone can agree on how great the benefits of wind energy are.  One thing that people continuously get hung up on, is how wind turbines look.  Some people view turbines as eyesores, and are even willing to continue to support fossil fuels over renewable energy because they find them so aesthetically displeasing.  Perhaps they find the oil spills and coal plant smog more appealing?

As French entrepreneur Jérome Michaud-Lariviére sat and watched the wind flip and spin leaves as it blew through the trees, he wondered if a wind turbine shaped like a tree was possible.  Some of the most efficient modern technology was designed by taking direct cues from nature.

The finished product is nothing short of awe inspiring.  The 36-foot-tall tree like structure features 72 artificial leaf-like wind turbines that silently spin to generate electricity with each gentle breeze.  The little rotating leaves only need a wind speed of 4.5 mph to generate power, and it’s almost mesmerizing to watch the tiny turbines dance with as the wind quietly passes through the tree.

Unfortunately, each tree only generates around 3.1 KW of electricity.  This is not enough to power the average home, but it is important to look at the bigger picture.  Innovations like this will only become more efficient over time, and this is a project that is intended to be scaled up and duplicated.  The vision involves lining the streets of urban areas with these turbine trees to power street lights and supplement the power to nearby buildings.

On a large scale, this design could potentially be a game changer for urban clean energy due to it’s easy integration into busy and high traffic settings.  Watch the video below to see the wind tree in action.

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