A team of French engineers has created a tree that can generate electricity from wind. The founder of the Parisian startup, Jérôme Michaud-Larivière said, “The idea came to me in a square where I saw the leaves tremble when there was not a breath of air. The energy had to come from somewhere and be translatable into watts.” The company will be marketing the Wind Tree in 2015.
The tree has tiny blades as its leaves that respond to wind by turning regardless of the direction in which the wind blows. The tree is completely silent and the team has been able to come up with a 26-ft prototype after a research that lasted for 3 years. This prototype has been installed in the Pleumeur-Bodou commune located in Brittany, northwestern France. Jérôme is hopeful that one day this invention could be used in homes and at urban centers.
The tree shall be sold for £23,500 and can generate twice the electricity that a traditional wind turbine generates in the same time. This is because it can even generate electricity with winds blowing as slow as 4.5 mph. According to Jérôme, the tree has not been tested by any independent lab but proves to be a profitable investment in one year if the wind speeds are 7.8 mph on average. He aims at harvesting energy from the air currents that flow into the town.
We can very well see this innovation being used in collaboration with other techniques of power generation like geothermal or photovoltaic methods. Mr Michaud-Larivière has plans of developing a “perfect tree that has leaves with natural fibres, roots that could generate geothermal energy and bark covered with photosensitive cells.” However, Robert Bellini, engineering expert at Environment and Energy Management Agency stated that the potential of small wind turbines in the city is quite low. But it is still a leap forward in wind technology.
So would you get one for your home? Let us know in the comments section.