Nanotechnology is a fascinating science for many scientists as it offers them many challenges. One such challenge involves nano-leaves and nano-trees; These were once thought to be a fantasy, but have come into reality now.
In the years ahead we will witness a world where there will be scarcity for energy resources, but we are fortunate that we are provided with solar power which will last for millions of years. And recently with the emergence of nanotechnology, scientists are working on a new concept called “nano-leaves” that will help produce electricity through solar power; It’s anticipated this novel technology will serve near-term and long-term energy requirements, in anticipation of upcoming expected energy demands.
I – WHAT IS NANO-LEAF TECHNOLOGY?
One of the emerging nanotechnologies related to renewable energy is nano-leaves and nano-stems of artificially created trees or plants. They are an emerging form of renewable energy generated by collecting energy from the sun and wind, and converting it to electrical energy.The leaves are distributed throughout artificial trees and plants, and when operating at optimum efficiency can supply an entire household with electricity. To better understand the fundamental concept behind nano-leaves, we have to dig into an innovative field of technological development, called Bio-mimicry.
II – OVERVIEW OF BIO-MIMICRY
The nano-leaves have been specially designed to imitate the natural process of photosynthesis (an organic mechanism by which plants absorb the light emitted by the sun and CO2 in the atmosphere, turning it into nutrients and oxygen). The artificial trees will even copy the natural recycling process of carbon-dioxide to oxygen conversion. It is only recently that nano-leaves technology started to progress to even more advanced levels; It can now harvest thermal energy in addition to solar. Moreover, the leaves are also able to collect energy derived through movement of the wind, known as kinetic energy, which is also converted into electrical energy.
In this bio-mimicry approach, artificially created trees are implanted with nano-leaves, a composite of nano-photovoltaic, nano-thermovoltaic and nano-piezo sources transforming light, heat and wind energy (respectively) into ecologically friendly electricity. The nano-leaves transform the whole solar spectrum of light; Converting detectable light, infrared and ultraviolet into electricity. This works in conjunction with the piezo-electric generators that convert wind energy into electricity providing efficient, cost effective and attractive looking solutions, while providing the sustainable electric power.
Bio-mimicry is a developing science attempting to solve human difficulties by adapting to and implementing nature’s systems into human technology. This job is accomplished by way of the use of nature’s design with synthetic trees, shrubs, plants and flowers all developed with nano-leaves engineered photo-voltaic (PV) cells. This emerging yet brilliant method of energy creation is both clean and renewable with a broad range of applications.
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III – COMPOSITIONS AND DESIGN OF NANO-LEAVES
The nano-technology was initially developed to solely harness solar energy. However, it now has more widespread uses. It exploits various alternative sources of energy like wind, solar and thermal energy. Furthermore, these highly advanced artificial plants and /or trees use tiny cells to capture energy:
This is captured through the use of thermo-voltaic (TV) cells which convert thermal energy into electricity by using semiconducting materials.
– Light Energy:
There are also tiny photo-voltaic cells (PV) incorporated in the nano-leaves. These small PV cells capture the light rays emitted by the sun. The light is then converted into electricity.
– Kinetic energy:
Kinetic energy is harnessed through movement. The wind produces motion in leaves, stems and branches. This motion is collected via piezo-voltaic (PZ) cells and converted into electricity.
IV- NANO-LEAF OPERATION AND WORKING
Sun, wind, water, earth and life touch our senses constantly, everywhere and without any intervention or activation on our part. They simply are there in their unmatched variety, moving us, our moods, memories, imaginations and plans. To capitalize on the wealth of designs and processes found in nature, engineering and technology gives us the ingredients, creative thinking, and unique solutions making it possible to bring all this together into a natural looking leaf – the nano-leaf. To complete the tree for multiple sources of energy generation, the petiole (i.e., the stalk of a leaf), twigs and branches are incorporated with nano piezo-electric elements. A nano-leaf is thin like a natural leaf; When external forces, like the wind, push the nano-leaf back and forth, mechanical stresses appear in the petiole, twig and branches. When thousands of nano-leaves flap back and forth due to wind, millions and millions of pico-watts are generated; The stronger the wind, the more energy is generated. Our nano-leaves only reflect a small part of the sunlight that strikes them, mostly the green light, and the rest of the spectrum is efficiently converted into electricity.
Due to the unique combination of photo-voltaic and thermo-voltaic receptors in our nano-leaves, they can continue to converts this thermal radiation into electricity, even hours after the sun has set.
V- BEST PLACES TO USE NANO-LEAVES TECHNOLOGY
The use of piezo-voltaic, thermo-voltaic and photo-voltaic cells can be employed to effectively convert a variety of energy sources into electricity. In order to extract the electricity from the artificial trees, the photo-voltaic, piezo-voltaic and thermo-voltaic energy harvesters are linked to individual junction boxes; From there, their outputs are combined and fed collectively into an inverter or directly charge a battery or storage cell array. The inverter can then also convert the electricity from nano-cells or batteries Direct Current (DC) into Alternating Current (AC), to power residential or industrial equipment. The manufacturers of the system estimate that a six meter area of nano-leaves canopy will generate enough electrical power to supply an average household.
The artificial trees can be constructed at various areas, such as:
– Desert: The earth has large areas of unexploited deserts which can be used to generate a massive amount of electricity, if artificial trees were “planted”. The energy produced could be used to solve the most predominant challenge in desert; provide electricity to power desalination. The desalinated water could there after be used for irrigation and drinking purposes. The fragile desert environment would hardly be affected by such a project yet the benefits are extensive. To further minimize the environmental impact on desert, the artificial trees could be planted alongside roads, coasts and other areas where it would protect inhabitants from sandstorms and provide constant shade from the sun.
– Golf Courses, Recreation Grounds and Parks:
Artificial golf courses, recreational grounds and parks could have artificial plants and trees planted to supply electricity for at least a portion of recreational parks. For golf course, the nano-leaves could power customer golf carts and ground maintenance vehicles.
– Office Parking and Industrial Zones:
The multi-fold benefits of planting trees near office parking lots and industrial zone are numerous. It provides the complex with electricity for offices, parking lights, charging electrical vehicles and other uses. Moreover, it does also provides shade from the sun and offers an aesthetic landscaping, without needing water.
VI – CONCLUSION
These super eco-friendly synthetic trees will make use of renewable energy from the sun along with wind power, which are an effective clean and environmentally sound medium of gathering solar radiation and wind energy. Solar nano-technology has wide-ranging potential. Using such technology, power producing solar products could be applied to just about any surface downtown or anywhere.
Source: GoArticles by Author Sushmitha Chintala .
(Image Credit – Bing Images )
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