Video: Solar power from energy-harvesting trees

February 16, 2015 by Olli Ernvall, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland

Scientists at VTT have developed a prototype of a tree that harvests solar energy from its surroundings - whether indoors or outdoors - stores it and turns it into electricity to power small devices such as mobile phones, humidifiers, thermometers and LED light bulbs. The technology can also be used to harvest kinetic energy from the environment.

The "leaves" of the tree are flexible, patterned solar panels made using a technique developed by VTT on a printing process. The leaves form an electronic system complete with wiring that conduct energy into a converter that feeds electricity to devices such as mobile phones or sensors analysing the environment.

The tree trunk is made with 3D technology by exploiting wood-based biomaterials VTT has developed.

VTT's technologies create endless opportunities for applications involving different kinds of electronics regarding lighting and energy harvesting, for example.

The more there are in a tree, the more energy it can harvest.

Explore further: Decorative and flexible solar panels become part of interior design and the appearance of objects

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TudorCorneliu
not rated yet Feb 17, 2015
cool but we need some actual figures for efficiency.....
Also if they make the leaves somehow transparent can it be that each leaf takes exactly how much it can convert while letting the extra photons pass and fuel inferior leafs (vertical alignment) ?
infinityPV
not rated yet Feb 18, 2015
based on their latest press release it's max 1% on the active area!

Just in case you are interested in organic solar cells ready to buy you can check out infinityPV.com (they can be customized as well)

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