If you are following the Photo of the Week series, you probably remember the Vortex bladeless wind turbine. This radical new way to harvest wind energy is bringing a new ehm… wind in the industry. The asparagus-like structure is an improvement for those who don’t like the large rotating fans in the countryside. But the Wind Tree (originally called the Arbre à Vent by its inventor Jérôme Michaud-Larivière) is raising wind energy to a whole new level of aesthetics.
Further developed by French engineers, this tree has rotating leaves that generate electricity regardless the direction of the wind. Other advantages are its silent operation, the possibility to start generating at wind speeds of 2 m/s instead of 5 m/s as for most traditional systems and the ability to be installed in an urban environment. One tree costs around 35 000 euros and has a capacity of 3kW. That is enough to power a small household. The real innovation is to be found in the leaves, designed to rotate in both laminar and the turbulent air flow near buildings.