Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Charge Your Smart Phone With 3D-Printed Solar Tree

Business

Scientists at VTT Technical Research Centre have developed a prototype of a tree that harvests solar energy from indoor and outdoor light and turns it into electricity to power small electronic devices, such as phones, humidifiers, thermometers and LED light bulbs. VTT is a leading research and technology company in the Nordic countries and part of the Finnish government's initiatives to spur innovation.

VTT explains that we are harvesting trees for energy in such great numbers, which is not sustainable or environmentally responsible. The company hopes that their innovative electricity-producing "tree" can help reduce deforestation. "Now you can produce energy not by wiping out whole forests. On the contrary, by adding trees," VTT says in their video. The company has produced an "artificial electricity harvesting tree that can be infinitely replicated."

The tree trunk is 3D-printed and made of "wood-based biomaterials," called biocomposites. The leaves are organic solar cells printed using well-established and widely used mass production techniques.

The company hopes that their innovative electricity-producing "tree" can help reduce deforestation. Photo credit: VTT

Each leaf has a separate power converter, making it possible to harvest solar energy from its organic solar cells and kinetic energy from vibrations in the surrounding environment. The leaves are relatively affordable and consume very little raw material. And once the panels reach the end of their life, they can be recycled.

Currently, the prototype can only power small electronic devices, but the more solar cells there are in a tree, the more energy it can harvest. "Today it can power your mobile [phone], but imagine the impact a whole forest could have tomorrow," says VTT.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Tim Cook: New Solar Farm Will Be Apple’s ‘Biggest, Boldest and Most Ambitious Project Ever’

Burning Trees for Electricity Is Actually Dirtier Than Coal

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A protest against the name of the Washington Redskins in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Nov. 2, 2014. Fibonacci Blue / CC BY 2.0

The Washington Redskins will retire their controversial name and logo, the National Football League (NFL) team announced Monday.

Read More Show Less
The survival tools northern fish have used for millennia could be a disadvantage as environmental conditions warm and more fast-paced species move in. Istvan Banyai / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0

By Alyssa Murdoch, Chrystal Mantyka-Pringle and Sapna Sharma

Summer has finally arrived in the northern reaches of Canada and Alaska, liberating hundreds of thousands of northern stream fish from their wintering habitats.

Read More Show Less
A mother walks her children through a fountain on a warm summer day on July 12, 2020 in Hoboken, New Jersey. Gary Hershorn / Getty Images

A heat wave that set in over the South and Southwest left much of the U.S. blanketed in record-breaking triple digit temperatures over the weekend. The widespread and intense heat wave will last for weeks, making the magnitude and duration of its heat impressive, according to The Washington Post.

Read More Show Less
If you get a call from a number you don't recognize, don't hit decline — it might be a contact tracer calling to let you know that someone you've been near has tested positive for the coronavirus. blackCAT / Getty Images

By Joni Sweet

If you get a call from a number you don't recognize, don't hit decline — it might be a contact tracer calling to let you know that someone you've been near has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Read More Show Less
Aerial view of burnt areas of the Amazon rainforest, near Porto Velho, Rondonia state, Brazil, on Aug. 24, 2019. CARLOS FABAL / AFP via Getty Images

NASA scientists say that warmer than average surface sea temperatures in the North Atlantic raise the concern for a more active hurricane season, as well as for wildfires in the Amazon thousands of miles away, according to Newsweek.

Read More Show Less
A baby receives limited treatment at a hospital in Yemen on June 27, 2020. Mohammed Hamoud / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

Oxfam International warned Thursday that up to 12,000 people could die each day by the end of the year as a result of hunger linked to the coronavirus pandemic—a daily death toll surpassing the daily mortality rate from Covid-19 itself.

Read More Show Less

Trending

The 2006 oil spill was the largest incident in Philippine history and damaged 1,600 acres of mangrove forests. Shubert Ciencia / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Jun N. Aguirre

An oil spill on July 3 threatens a mangrove forest on the Philippine island of Guimaras, an area only just recovering from the country's largest spill in 2006.

Read More Show Less