Artificial Trees to Harness Solar and Wind Energy
If you think planting trees is going to save the planet from global warming, you’re thinking in the right direction but a problem — we may call it a problem due to the situation we have gotten ourselves in — with mother nature is it takes its own good time to show results. It doesn’t mean that we should stop planting new trees and stop all efforts at forestation. Everything artificial doesn’t have to be bad for Earth; a London based company called Solar Botanic intends to use Energy Harvesting Trees to generate solar as well as wind energy. The solution is unique in a sense that the same installation can use two alternative energy sources to produce clean electricity.
Biomimicry — that is an emerging science — is going to be used to implement some of the nature’s processes in order to produce clean, environmental friendly energy. The tree, once installed, will replicate the functions of a solar-wind harvester.
According to the company’s website its energy capturing powerhouse is going to be “Nanoleaf”. According to the Nanoleaves page, “A Nanoleaf is thin like a natural leaf, when outside forces, like the wind pushes the Nanoleaf back and forth, mechanical stresses appear in the petiole, twig and branches. When thousands of Nanoleaves flap back and forth due to wind, millions and millions of Pico watts are generated, the stronger the wind, the more energy is generated.”
The Nanoleaves reflect back only a small portion of the sunlight and the remaining light is used to produce energy. “Due to the unique combination of photovoltaic and thermovoltaic in our Nanoleaves it converts this thermal radiation into electricity, even hours after the sun has set,” the page further states.
They can even convert the infrared radiations into energy.
The constant development in nanotechnology, the photovoltaic and themovoltaic materials will be easier and less costly to produce, bringing down the production and installation costs significantly.
Of course the biggest benefit of such trees will be the availability of extremely nonpolluting electricity. But along with this they will also eliminate the need to create eyesores in the form of gigantic wind turbines and solar panels. These energy harvesting trees will look as natural as normal trees. This is like growing gardens and mini forests that are actually silent electricity generators.