Public Release: 

Solar power from energy-harvesting trees (video)

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland

Scientists at VTT have developed a prototype of a tree that harvests solar energy from its surroundings - whether indoors or outdoors - stores it and turns it into electricity to power small devices such as mobile phones, humidifiers, thermometers and LED light bulbs. The technology can also be used to harvest kinetic energy from the environment.

Watch the video: http://youtu.be/_QswunfBC8U.

The "leaves" of the tree are flexible, patterned solar panels made using a technique developed by VTT on a printing process. The leaves form an electronic system complete with wiring that conduct energy into a converter that feeds electricity to devices such as mobile phones or sensors analysing the environment.

The tree trunk is made with 3D technology by exploiting wood-based biomaterials VTT has developed.

VTT's technologies create endless opportunities for applications involving different kinds of electronics regarding lighting and energy harvesting, for example.

The more solar panels there are in a tree, the more energy it can harvest.

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Contacts:

Research Scientist Matti Tähtinen, Project Manager
matti.tahtinen@vtt.fi, puh. +358 401530405

Senior Scientist, Kirsi Immonen, Printed biomaterials
kirsi.immonen@vtt.fi, puh. +358 405185351

Research Team Leader Tapio Ritvonen, Printed solar panels
tapio.ritvonen@vtt.fi, puh. +358 400915114

Further information on VTT:

Olli Ernvall
Senior Vice President, Communications
358 20 722 6747
olli.ernvall@vtt.fi
http://www.vtt.fi

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd is the leading research and technology company in the Nordic countries. We use our research and knowledge to provide expert services for our domestic and international customers and partners, and for both private and public sectors. We use 4,000,000 hours of brainpower a year to develop new technological solutions.

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