Scientists at the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland have created a solar tree that harvests power from indoor and outdoor light and turns it into electricity for powering small electronic devices, including smartphones. The tree, which is 3D-printed from wood-based biomaterials developed by VTT, can also harvest kinetic energy from its surroundings – and it’s cute enough to fit in with your decor.
The tree can be fitted with multiple flexible solar panel “leaves,” also 3D-printed in a process VTT developed. The more panels you attach, the more energy the tree can harvest. The tree and leaf creation is made possible by a new mass production method which enables designers to create functional objects from organic photovoltaic solar panels; the ultra-thin panels are 0.2 mm thick, with electrodes and polymer layers included. An array of 200 leaves generates 3.2 amperes of electricity and 10.4 watts of power when placed in outdoors in a sunny climate.
VTT is a multi-technological applied research organization, overseen by the Finnish Ministry of Employment and the Economy, the largest organization of its kind in Northern Europe.
Images via VTT.