The Gadgets Page

August 22, 2011

Are Solar Trees In Our Future?

Filed under: Green Gadgets,Misc. Gadgets — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

An ancient force has been harnessing the power of the sun for longer than we have existed. It’s called photo-synthesis and trees have been doing it efficiently for eons. Why did we never consider branching our solar panels out the way a tree does? It took a thirteen-year old child, Aidan Dwyer, to notice this and he has been given a patent on the design, although, nature kind of has first dibs.

After studying how trees branch in a very specific way, Aidan Dwyer created a solar cell tree that produces 20-50% more power than a uniform array of photovoltaic panels. His impressive results show that using a specific formula for distributing solar cells can drastically improve energy generation. The study earned Aidan a provisional U.S patent – it’s a rare find in the field of technology and a fantastic example of how biomimicry can drastically improve design.

It makes sense that a tree design would be able to capture more sun than a flat surface would be. With solar panel “leaves” facing all different directions, they are more likely to be facing the sun at different times of the day. Now, if only we could allow the solar “leaves” to rustle in the wind, they would be even MORE efficient.

I’m very excited to see where this technology leads in the future!

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