They are artificial trees of very different types , which generate energy from the sun or the air, while integrating into the urban landscape, making them doubly ecological. electricity generating plants
They cannot replace wind turbines or photovoltaic panels, although some are based on the principles of these technologies, and even include them. However, its productivity is still lower.
But they also have advantages over conventional wind and solar energy installations , such as their greater integration into the city and, in many cases, their possible use by citizens as projects to become part of urban furniture.
Interesting: How to take care of the forests
Energy from small air currents
A team of Parisian engineers developed an artificial tree that works silently to extract energy from the wind. It is a metal tree still in the prototype phase, which has been installed on a trial basis in the Pleumeur Bodou commune, in north-western France. electricity generating plants
It measures 8 meters and its price right now is prohibitive, since it intends to sell for more than 30,000 euros, but the truth is that its mass production could greatly reduce this figure. For now, it would only be amortizable in the very long term, being optimistic. Its creators explain that instead of leaves, this artificial tree houses small vertical turbines that can illuminate around 10 streetlights or cover the electricity needs of an average family by more than 80 percent.
They claim that it has the great advantage of producing energy even when the wind is very light, regardless of its direction. Over time, the New Wind company hopes that its use will spread. Ideally, it is expected to find application both in homes and in public parks or on the streets themselves. Although it does not allow the same performance as a conventional generator, the truth is that it compensates for this lack with greater continuity thanks to its productivity even when the air is not blowing strongly. electricity generating plants
2. A tree that mimics a poplar
Scientists at Iowa State University, in the United States, propose to extract electrical energy from an artificial tree similar to a poplar, whose leaves are also carried by the wind. In addition to looking for a nice biomimetic effect, a piezoelectric power generation mechanism is included.
Piezoelectric crystals are used , the charge of which is due to compression or distortion, for example. On the one hand, the resemblance to a real tree is sought and, on the other, its leaves made of piezoelectric crystals manage to efficiently generate electricity from the wind. As was the case in the previous case, it is expected to find a practical application both at the landscape level and in obtaining green energy, although this project is still in its infancy. electricity generating plants
Another no less interesting project is the one carried out by a team of researchers from Ohio State University, led by Professor Ryan Harne. It proposes obtaining clean energy through the use of artificial trees, taking advantage of their capacity to transform the vibrations produced by different agents (wind, seismic activity or human activity) into electricity.
In other words, trees recover part of the energy produced in the city, among other possibilities when “buildings sway slightly with the wind, car suspensions absorb potholes in the road or bridges vibrate”, says the expert. .
The results are not very productive . But according to Harne, it is a “valuable” technology when it is not feasible to install conventional renewable energy sources. Small voltages that can be used to power sensors or, for example, charge mobile devices.
A tree named Tree of MeHai is the creation of Mexican students and Haitian specialty Energy Renewable Technological University of Querétaro, in Mexico City.
With the creation of the tree, they wanted to give a new air to a photovoltaic cell installation with the dual purpose of promoting renewable energies and giving it daily use. An intention that ended up being embodied in an artificial tree that includes 9 photovoltaic panels and a storage system designed to recharge mobile devices. Soon they hope to be able to give it other uses as well, such as campus lighting or powering water purifiers.
Treepods are the last artificial tree in this selection. Created by Klaus Lackner, a scientist at Columbia University in New York, it has a very attractive futuristic design, but its environmental strengths are different. As the epigraph well anticipates, they are trees that imitate the functions of plants when it comes to acting as carbon sinks. Likewise, its solar panels capture the energy of the star king and allow the streets to be illuminated when night falls.
Conclusions electricity generating plants
On the other hand, in no case is it a matter of replacing normal trees with these. It is not, at least, the idea that prompted its creation. Above all, it is about offering a solution for the creation of energy in habitable environments without posing an aesthetic or space problem, although urban policies are the ones that finally have the last word.
Similarly, trees that trap CO2 are another option, although a hybrid between these and those could be extremely interesting. Not so much for insects and other urban biodiversity, with which natural trees have no point of comparison. Be that as it may, and given that nothing is perfect, these proposals make it possible to produce energy and integrate into the environment. Let’s see 5 projects that revolve around this happy idea.