Beautifying power capture
Integrating solar and wind power capture into natural and urban environments isn’t just a technical or engineering task–it’s also a design opportunity. Some recent eye-popping ideas have ranged from a dragonfly-shaped urban farm on Roosevelt Island to a snakeskin-like PV-tiled stadium in Taiwan. Here’s another via Scientific American: artificial trees with fluttering “nanoleaves,” an effort by London’s Solar Botanic Renewable Energy Systems to convert light, heat and wind energy into electricity.
Solar Botanic’s ambitious plan involves bringing together three different energy-generation technologies—photovoltaics (aka solar power, or electricity from visible sunlight), thermoelectrics (electricity from heat) and piezoelectrics (electricity from pressure)—all in the unassuming shape of a leaf on its stem.
Place thousands of these units, dubbed nanoleaves, on a natural-looking, though fake plastic tree—and one could have electricity production without spoiling natural landscapes, van der Beek says.
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