Artificial Trees to Produce Alternative Energy
A big problem with producing alternative energy is that it takes up lots of land, resources and money to produce little alternative energy. Vast acreage is needed if an alternative energy production plant wants to compete with conventional energy producing plant, let us say to produce, hundreds of megawatts of energy. This is a big hurdle in the way of constructing large-scale solar power plants. The production of solar energy is only feasible at places where the real estate is not costly, or the rooftops of buildings and houses can be used to lay down solar power generation equipment.
Man-made solar energy production technologies need direct sunlight to give optimal performance and this raises a need for lots of obstruction-free space. Solar energy plants don’t work properly if the surface has obstructions and shades. Fortunately this problem is restricted to man-made solar power generation facilities; the natural ways of producing solar energy are not shackled by such limitations. Take for instance, plants.
Although plants don’t convert sunlight into electricity they do use light from the sun to convert water and air into cellulose. This is a complicated process.
A typical tree is a prime example of a mechanism that optimally utilizes the solar energy. Even though not all leaves are directly exposed to the sun they all use the sunshine. How does it happen? It is simple as well as complex. The leaves of a tree are situated in such a manner that almost every leave one way or another gets its share of sunshine. The branches and the leaves grow in a strategic manner to create enough space between them. Leaves are translucent, that is, the sunshine can filter through them and they also reflect sunshine to other leaves.
Solar Botanic Energy Systems intends to mimic this genius of the nature; building artificial trees to generate solar power. Going a step further the technology also intends to generate wind power from the same artificial trees. With the help of the latest nanotechnology tiny solar generators will use sun’s light and heat to generate power; photovoltaic – thermovoltaic and piezevoltaic all united in a leaf design. Thus converting 3 free available energies sun, wind and heat into electricity.
Where the leaf connects to stem on a branch (in a real tree the petiole) nanopiezovoltaic material would be incorporated. The rustling of the leaf in the wind or rain would cause this small generator to generate even more power.
Solar botanic energy Systems plans to design 20 different species of artificial trees. As a first step it is planting palm trees at an undisclosed Middle East location. This facility will have 36 power generating fronds and these fronds will generate more than 5000 kilowatt hours per year of electricity.