A common complaint by critics of wind energy is that turbines can be an eyesore dotting the landscape. But a new type of turbine called WindTree has heads spinning.
Designed as an artistic interpretation of a tree, the breakthrough has multiple turbines. Each “branch” holds several small rotating turbines called Aeroleaves. These three-feet-long turbines contain microprocessors that can adjust the speed to generate the most power from the wind.
With wind speeds between four and 36 miles per hour, the WindTree can produce a range of 1,000 kilowatts to 3,500kw annually, Bloomberg reported. To put that in perspective, the U.S. Dept. of Energy says the average American home consumes about 10 kilowatts per hour each year.
Each WindTree costs $52,500, but final price tag is closer to $75,000. While wind energy is the cheapest renewable currently (about 2 cents per kilowatt-hour), the cost of a WindTree doesn’t cover a home, according to U.S. Dept of Energy estimates. That said, it definitely brings a modern aesthetic to a business or government building, which its manufacturer says are its primary customers.
Seven WindTree prototypes are currently scattered throughout Europe. Soon, Paris airports will feature 23 of them, according to Bloomberg.
The new-look turbines will start selling in the U.S. this fall. See it in action below.
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