Energy-Harvesting 3D Printed Trees
Won’t you crave to have trees around providing charging points? If possible, this would make people plant more and more trees willingly! Developers at VTT have made the model of such a tree whose leaves can produce electricity. Another recent invention of the same kind was the IBM’s sunflower dishes to generate electricity and water

 

Scientists at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland have developed the prototype of Solar Energy Harvesting Tree. The leaves of conventional trees perform photosynthesis to convert light energy into chemical food energy. Analogically, leaves of VTT’s tree convert energy from surroundings into electricity for low power devices.

The leaves of the tree are made up of flexible solar panels. They are fabricated of printed organic photo-voltaic cells. These comprise of conductive organic molecules which absorb light, transfer charge and produce electricity using photo-voltaic effect. However, the leaves of VTT’s energy harvesting trees convert energy from multiple sources. They absorb solar energy from indoors as well as outdoors. The leaves use light energy along with energy due to temperature fluctuations and pulsation triggered by winds. Leaves are infinitely replicated and each leaf has discrete multi-converter system. The trunks of trees are made of 3D printed bio-composites.

Also read: NASA Making the “Warp Drive” – Faster than Light Spaceship

Energy is stored and then converted into electricity for small power devices such as cell phones, thermometers, humidifiers and LED lights. Researchers are looking forward to the day when forests of such solar energy harvesting trees can be employed to perform on larger scales.

Energy conservation and encouragement of alternative energy sources are very much crucial issues. Presently global population is 24-hours electricity dependent. VTT’s energy harvesting tree is a remarkable development considering future sustainability.

Watch out the following video uploaded by VTT Finland demonstrating the model of energy harvesting tree.


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