Fake cottonwood tree generates wind-powered electricity

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As an adjunct to huge wind turbine fields, the Iowa State University research team’s electricity generating tree could be used to power home appliances. Citing cell phone towers in Las Vegas that are camouflaged as trees as inspiration, scientists believe that such aesthetics could have their functionality doubled. Using thin plastic leaves modeled on the flat planes of cottonwood tree leaves, the biomimetic tree contains special plastic in the leaf stalks that release electricity when moved by wind. Although the lab tree is very small, the researchers envision a much larger model containing tens of thousands of leaves becoming a…

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