A small French firm has developed a fully functioning prototype of an urban wind tree turbine. Their invention resembles natural vegetation, captures low speed urban winds, generates great amounts of electricity, and it works entirely noise-free.
Some people claim that wind turbines are ugly or influence health in one way or another. Wind farms in general are not really seen as the best neighbor to have. The noise they produce makes the lawnmower of the beardy guy next door on a Sunday morning sound like music to the ears. This is one of the reasons urban wind farms are not particularly popular.
But leaving all aesthetics and nuisances aside, there is another reason wind turbines are placed out in the open. They simply function much more efficiently in open spaces, and therefore most farms are located either in the sea or on the far-away hill.
Jerome Michaud-Lariviere, a French entrepreneur, who loves clean-tech and the environment, decided to change this established vision of wind turbines, and come up with a solution that can be adapted to urban environments. This is the Wind Tree.
As its name implies, the invention resembles a beautiful green tree, made of 72 artificial leaves that act as micro-turbines. Driven by the low gentle winds that move around the buildings, the small blades can generate as much as 3.1 KW of power. The wind tree is 11m tall and has a diameter of 8m. Most importantly, it does not generate any noise and blends in with the urban street vegetation. Here is a small demo/promo video.
Jerome and his team at New Wind are ready with a prototype of the technology, and have the permission to place it at the Place de la Concorde in Paris as early as in March 2015. In this way, they will not only test its performance, but also they will raise awareness and promote renewable energy to the citizens of the picturesque European capital.
Yes, it does seem a bit like all other pretty green inventions that do not seem to be getting any closer to becoming viable, but this one is not. It has a working prototype, and it is already priced at quite a competitive value of US $36,500.
Image (c) New Wind