Photovoltaic trees instead of charging columns? Could it be possible
(Sustainabilityenvironment.com) – The concept was born in 2015 but today, 7 years later, the SolarBotanic Tree is ready to take root. The original photovoltaic trees designed by the eponymous London company finally have a prototype made and finished to be tested. A first version of what, in the not too distant future, could be a multifunctional street furniture.
The idea behind the project was to create an electric generator to be inserted in built environments and able to exploit natural resources to produce energy. Sources such as light, heat, wind and even rain. The fundamental element of this technology is the artificial leaf of Solar Botanic called “Nanoleaf“. It is a thin photovoltaic film equipped with antennas, tiny optical antennas capable of capturing light in all wavelengths. It is estimated that a solar cell designed with these collectors is theoretically able to capture more than 70% of the incident radiation to turn it into electricity. At the moment, however, the company does not provide technical details or efficiencies.
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The startup has already embarked on a financing round with EIS investors to finance the installation of the first prototype at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Center (AMRC) of the University of Sheffield. An obligatory step before completing the SolarBotanic Tree v01, 5 kW version for commercial launch, available from 2023. But by the end of the same year, the company plans to present the SolarBotanic Tree v02, a model fully integrated with an AI-based energy management system. This version would be equipped with batteries and sockets for charging electric vehicles.