Though wind turbines are an incredibly useful energy source, they definitely weren’t designed with aesthetics in mind. That is, until the Tree Vent appeared. Designed by French company NewWind, the Tree Vent reimagines traditional wind turbines with its brown tree-like “branches” and two-tone green “leaves.”
Standing 36 feet tall and operating silently, the tree-shaped wind turbine is no doubt an innovation in functional (yet stylized) green energy. Each tree consists of a steel tree trunk and 72 plastic leaf-shaped turbines.
The lightweight leaves are treated with a weather-resistant resin to protect them from harsh elements. Here’s the Tree Vent in action:
French engineer Jérôme Michaud-Larivière (above) got the idea for the tree-shaped wind turbine after noticing how leaves shivered and moved at the slightest hint of wind. Built in imitation of real-life trees, the Tree Vent’s “leaves” respond to wind that’s as low as 4.4mph, regardless of what direction it comes from. Like other wind turbines, the Tree Vent converts kinetic energy from the wind into mechanical power, which can then be converted into electricity. Each Tree Vent has an estimated 3.1 kW power output.
With a simple, clean design that complements gardens, parks and other natural settings, the Tree Vent could provide energy to a wide array of public spaces. Right now, it’s still being tested. An early prototype was installed in Brittany, France, and the final prototype will be “planted” in Paris this spring. The Tree Vent should be available for buyers in 2016, but will cost a hefty $36,500 (though this cost will hopefully offset future energy costs down the road).