Fighting Energy Ugliness

With communities balking at the purported ugliness of windtowers and solar panels, a Dutch company proposes using nature's own designs.
May 27, 2009, 10am PDT | Tim Halbur
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"With all the potential good wind power could do for the carbon economy, one of the objections hindering its implementation is aesthetic; people simply don't want massive turbines dotting the landscape and marring their views. The Dutch founder of London's Solar Botanic Ltd. was wrestling with that very issue in 2002 when the idea began to blossom: why not redesign the technology to blend into the natural world?

Founded last year, Solar Botanic's ambitious goal involves layering existing technologies three-fold into the natural form of a leaf and producing fake power-producing trees that individually could power an entire home. Each "nanoleaf" would incorporate photovoltaics for collecting solar power, thermoelectrics for converting the sun's heat to electricity, and piezoelectric nanogenerators in the leaves' petioles (the stalk connecting the leaf to the branch) that capture the kinetic energy from the wind rustling the leaves."

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Published on Thursday, May 21, 2009 in Fast Company
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