Alternative Energy

Alternative Energy

Alternative energy news, and information about renewable energy technologies.

Feb 28

3D Printed Solar Energy Trees

Posted in Energy Inventions | Future Technology | Photovoltaic Cells | Solar Power


How would nature do it? Researchers at the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland may be discovering the answer, thanks to advancing solar and 3D printing technologies. They have developed some very decorative prototypes of what they are calling “energy harvesting trees”. The tiny leaves generate and store solar energy and can be used to power small appliances and mobile devices. They flourish indoors and outdoors and can also harvest kinectic energy from wind and temperature changes in the surrounding environment.

Watch the video

“Today it can power your mobile, but imagine the impact a whole forest can have tomorrow.”

How do they work?

The tree’s leaves are actually flexible organic solar cells, printed using well established mass-production techniques. Each leaf has a separate power converter, creating a multi converter system that makes it possible to collect energy from a variety of sources like solar, wind and heat temperature. The more solar panels there are in a tree, the more energy it can harvest. The trunks are 3d printed using wood-based biocomposites. They are mass producible and can be infinitely replicated.


“Exciting stuff!” What do you think could be some real life applications for this technology in the future? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Source: VTT Finland

Related Articles:

  • Celinda Adair

    An aesthetically pleasing way to power street lights and outdoor lighting or even external business signs.

  • infinityPV

    Nice design demo.

    Interested in having your own printed flexible organic solar cell modules? Then just visit infinityPV, your supplier of organic solar cells, substrate materials and ZnO inks

  • Donald Rex Jr

    We may survive here yet!

  • Michael Hinton

    What is the life expectancy of these cells? How much degradation is there when these cells are in an outside environment? Other organic cells have a very short life span.

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