September 4, 08
Piezoelectric WindTree Creates Energy with Lower Wind Speeds

Inside the lab of energy engineering professor Cheon Wan-gi at Cheju National University is a meter-high tree that generates electricity from the breeze. Because the tree is made of piezoelectric material, it produces electricity when its branches and leaves are struck by wind.

“Though the technology is not sufficient now, a material upgrade will significantly reduce charging time,” Cheon said. “While wind generators only work at wind speeds of seven to 25 meters per second, tree generators are available with a windspeed of four meters per second.”

The hope now is to scale up this technology to provide enough energy for street lights in rural communities where solar power is not viable and hooking up street lights to the grid is too expensive.

His invention was presented to the seventh International Sustainable Energy Symposium held at the Ritz-Carlton in southern Seoul.