Skip to main content

Plant a Wind Tree in your neighborhood to generate energy from low-speed wind

WindTrees by NewWind
These trees do more than just add ambiance. Harnessing the wind to generate electrical energy usually brings to mind thoughts of huge land- or ocean-based wind farms consisting of huge towers with two or three blades, each more than 100-feet long, on the top. The size, weight, noise, and vibration of industrial wind turbines restrict their use to large open spaces. Newwind, a French startup, has developed a much smaller, urban-space-friendly “Wind Tree,” reports Electrek.

The Wind Tree, which produces sufficient energy to power small buildings or streetlights, is designed to connect to a nearby energy storage system. The trees are each about 30 feet tall and 26 feet in diameter, and weigh approximately 5,500 pounds. Each tree has 54 Aeroleafs mounted vertically on tree branches. The Aeroleafs are 3.2 feet high and, spinning at optimum speed, are capable of generating 65 watts each. So, a tree with 54 leaves has an energy-generation capacity maximum of 3,510 watts (3.5kW), about the same as a small home solar installation.

Related Videos

The Wind Tree isn’t intended for residential applications or city streets, as it needs a good deal of space. The closest building must be at least 32 feet away and the tree needs to be installed within 164 feet of an electrical panel to which it attaches. The prime application, according to the company, is for civil engineering and city landscaping projects.

The tree’s leaves are held in place with a magnet assembly and can generate energy at speeds as low as 4.5 mph, without distracting sound. According to Newwind,  “Current is generated by a (rotor) magnet assembly, which is rotated by a blade moving across circuit (stator). Micro-electricity generation is created with and multiple turbines combine to capture the lowest winds and accumulate their power.”

The trees are made of steel and the leaves of lightweight plastic that is “treated with a resin which protects it from weather conditions such as humidity and salt” according to IFL Science.

Electrek reported that Newwind has “planted” more than 40 wind trees in France and is now exploring market possibilities in the U.S. The trees currently cost $67,500 each before delivery and installation, which again rules them out for most residential applications, even if you have the required space.

It’s interesting to see developing technologies that could work alone or in conjunction with solar installations to produce energy without using fossil fuels.

Editors' Recommendations

Energy from evaporating water could power 70 percent of the U.S.
evaporating water

With very good reason, there is a big drive to promote sustainable energy sources around the world, but could one of the most efficient possible renewables be being ignored? That is what a new study carried out by researchers at Columbia University suggests. Based on their calculations, the United States could harvest 325 gigawatts of power -- around 70 percent of the power it currently produces -- by using evaporating water from U.S. lakes and reservoirs.

"Evaporation is a fundamental process taking place in nature," Ozgur Sahin, a biophysicist at Columbia who served as the study’s senior author, told Digital Trends. "Wet surfaces and open bodies of water release the heat coming from the sunlight via evaporation. It is an important part of the water cycle. In principle, one could capture energy from evaporation occurring in nature by, for example, using materials that respond to water vapor by changing size. We wanted to determine theoretically how much energy can be captured from evaporation by taking into account the weather conditions. Understanding its energy generation potential could help motivate development of new technologies to harness energy from this important natural phenomenon."

Read more
Australia will build a solar power plant to meet the government’s energy needs
solar power

Earlier in 2017, China completed the world's largest floating solar power plant to meet its growing energy demands and it looks like another country is looking to diversify its domestic energy production with a massive clean energy initiative. Australia recently announced plans to construct a massive solar power plant to fuel the entire South Australian state government's power needs and then some.

Australian State Premier Jay Weatherill confirmed a contract for the Aurora Solar Energy Project, 150-megawatt solar thermal plant, to be built in South Australia. Global solar power developer, SolarReserve, will begin construction on the $650 million facility in 2018 and plans to have the plant ready by 2020.

Read more
Smart startup has a new idea for renewable energy, and it involves giant kites
Kite Power Systems provide renewable energy.

“Let’s go fly a kite” used to be a cheerful refrain from the end of Disney’s Mary Poppins. As it turns out, it could be a crucially important idea in the drive toward efficient use of renewable energy. That’s based on the work of a United Kingdom company called Kite Power Systems. They’ve developed smart technology for obtaining power from the wind with the aid of custom-built giant kites that fly in pairs, hundreds of feet up in the sky, with their movements powering a generator on the ground.

“The KPS system has two hybrid kites that are flown as high as 1,500 feet,” David Ainsworth, Kite Power Systems’ business development director, told Digital Trends. “Their tethers are attached to a winch system that generates electricity as it spools out. By achieving flight speeds of up to 100mph in 20mph winds, the kite's tether tension causes the line to rapidly spool out from a drum, which turns a generator producing electricity. The two kites fly in the same airspace, and are fully automated so energy production is therefore constant and energy yield can be maximized.”

Read more