Wind energy is one of the fastest-growing energy industries in the world — and for good reason. Wind energy is 100 percent clean, and doesn’t pollute the air or water like fossil fuel-based power plants; it’s based upon an endless supply of energy that does not need to be imported and it is one of the most cost-efficient renewable energy technologies that exist today.
With all these advantages, one might ask, why we don’t see thousands of new wind turbines popping all around us. The answer to this question lies in a number of inherent challenges wind power engineers have been trying to resolve for decades.
Traditional wind turbines are quite large and therefore are usually installed in relatively remote locations, which, in turn, creates additional costs of building transmission lines to route the generated electricity back to the city. Noise and aesthetic pollution also ply their part: people are often reluctant to install tall industrial-looking turbines within city limits because of their noise and visual impact on the landscape.
However, one company is trying to change that by reimagining the traditional wind turbine design. New Wind, a France-based company will soon install a “garden” of their very unconventional tree-shaped turbines in the city of Paris at the Place de la Concorde. Unlike traditional long-bladed turbines, the new concept relies on an abundance of small cone-shaped generators capable of capturing the faintest winds (as low as 4.5 mph) to accumulate power.
The new 26-foot-high turbines are inspired by nature and are meant to blend in with the city landscape. In addition, their small size and vertical-axis rotation make them virtually unobtrusive.
The company’s founder, Jérôme Michaud-Larivière hopes that his tree-like turbines can be planted in urban areas next to real trees and generate electricity from small air currents flowing along buildings and city streets.
Although less efficient overall than conventional wind turbines, the ~ $30,000 power plants can still be profitable in just a year of average wind speeds of 7.8 mph.
Take a look at the video below to see the tree turbines in action:
What do you think? Can these city-friendly wind turbines revolutionize wind power industry? Let us know in the comments section below.