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Clean Power tree

Published on October 14th, 2008 | by Ariel Schwartz

11

Artificial Trees Capture Solar and Wind Energy



tree

A London-based startup called Solar Botanic announced yesterday that it has designed lifelike artificial plants and trees that harvest the power of the sun and the wind. The key to the company’s claim is its Nanoleaf— a supposed energy-capturing powerhouse.

The Nanoleaf contains photovoltaic and thermovoltaic cells that capture the sun’s energy, as well as voltaic twigs and branches that create electricity whenever they are stretched or compressed by the wind.

Unfortunately, neither the Solar Botanic press release or website says exactly how much power an artificial tree or plant can create. But the company estimates that an average-sized tree with a 6 sq meter canopy could generate enough energy for a single household.

In addition to powering homes, Solar Botanic envisions its creation powering motorways, suburban streets, and parks—anywhere that groups of trees are often found.

I’m interested in where this company will go in the future, as many people will probably be more willing to tolerate clusters of energy-producing trees in their neighborhoods than solar panels or wind turbines. But I imagine that large-scale production of the technology is a long way off since Solar Botanic provides minimal details about its plans.

Photo Credit: Solar Botanic

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About the Author

was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a senior editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine, and more. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.



  • http://www.nevermo.co.uk Artificial Grass

    The artificial plants can give a serene look in any room in the house like real plants. Many people are switching from real plants to artificial for various reasons. These artificial plants & trees look more realistic and people often are deceived by its resemblance to the real ones. If you cannot still decide whether you must try it or not then, next time you go to the malls or restaurants, do not forget to check the plants and trees there.

  • http://www.ianano.org Viray

    How is it a hoax? If you can model photosynthesis, and if you can model systems that generate electricty from mechanical energy, in a nanostructure, then why not? Nature is very nano-like.

  • http://www.ianano.org Viray

    How is it a hoax? If you can model photosynthesis, and if you can model systems that generate electricty from mechanical energy, in a nanostructure, then why not? Nature is very nano-like.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com/ McBloggenstein

    Wow! What a great idea!

    It would be really cool if they could make a version that also converts carbon dioxide into oxygen.

    Oh wait… they’re called TREES!

    I’m all for coming up with inventive ways to hide technology under our noses to produce the energy we need to live, but this looks like a step toward making nature obsolete and artificial.

    That’s not a good thing, and it can’t be ignored that making fake trees is heading in that direction.

  • http://whyareyousofat.wordpress.com/ McBloggenstein

    Wow! What a great idea!

    It would be really cool if they could make a version that also converts carbon dioxide into oxygen.

    Oh wait… they’re called TREES!

    I’m all for coming up with inventive ways to hide technology under our noses to produce the energy we need to live, but this looks like a step toward making nature obsolete and artificial.

    That’s not a good thing, and it can’t be ignored that making fake trees is heading in that direction.

  • Tony

    Seriously, don’t you this just smell like a hoax to you? I mean you look at all sorts of clean energy projects, and I realise some are more out there than others, but really, solar powered trees? It’s satire you fools.

  • Tony

    Seriously, don’t you this just smell like a hoax to you? I mean you look at all sorts of clean energy projects, and I realise some are more out there than others, but really, solar powered trees? It’s satire you fools.

  • http://www.wallstats.com Jess

    Wow, this looks expensive. read: not practical.

  • http://www.wallstats.com Jess

    Wow, this looks expensive. read: not practical.

  • Andrew young

    Sounds like BS to me.

    the site has a figure of in plane principal stresses cropped right out of mechanics of materials textbook superimposed on a illustration of a leaf.

  • Andrew young

    Sounds like BS to me.

    the site has a figure of in plane principal stresses cropped right out of mechanics of materials textbook superimposed on a illustration of a leaf.

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