"L'arbre à vent" has the wind in its sails
A Parisian start-up decided to take on the challenge of creating unobtrusive wind turbines and aims to sell the "Arbre à vent®" from 2015.
Although wind turbines are a real solution for powering homes, cities and even factories, they still remain massive eyesores that are deemed to be too loud.
Taking his inspiration from nature, Jérôme Michaud-Larivière, the founder of the French start-up NewWind, was struck with the idea of reconciling nature and technology, environment and energy needs.
After three years of research, the start-up's team of engineers developed a prototype for a new kind of wind turbine that is likely to fit in better in urban environments: this 11 meter-tall stylised, steel-trunked tree is fitted with over a hundred green ASA (Acrylonitrile Styrene Acrylate) leaves that activate an equivalent number of silent turbines. This sleek, stylish and aesthetic tree works almost all year round as each leaf, equipped with Aeroleaf® technology, begins to turn as soon as windspeeds reach two metres per second, traditional turbines require winds of four metres per second, regardless of wind direction. "The idea came to me on a square while I was watching the leaves of a tree tremble despite the lack of wind", explained Jérôme Michaud-Larivière.
"L'arbre à vent®" would be capable of generating between 2.5 and 4 kWh of energy. Quieter and more discreet, this wind turbine could provide enough electricity to power a home of four people, excluding heating, which is to say 3.5 kW, for around 300 useful days per year.
Paris should be welcoming its tree in a demonstration space on Place de la Concorde in 2015.
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