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Artificial Trees Capture Solar and Wind Energy


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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Written By

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.


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