French green tech company, NewWind, just raised over 1.1€ million for its product, l’Arbre à Vent. A wind turbine in the form of a tree, this device is capable of generating enough electricity for a family of four, or about 3.5kW of energy. The innovation comes in the silent spin of the light-weight metallic leaves on each branch that turn even in the lightest of winds, essentially able to generate energy in most weather conditions.
The Brittany-based company received its funding locally, with 390,000€ coming from Crédit Mutuel de Bretagne, Crédit Agricole des Cotes d’Armor, and the Initiative Armor, while the other 760,000€ came from WiSeed, a French crowd funding site. The money comes just two months before the Arbre à Vent makes its debut at the Place de la Concorde in Paris. This couldn’t be better positioning for a Green Tech solution orienting itself towards urban settings. In a city preparing for a Global Climate Summit later on this year, the Arbre à Vent is may just be poised to receive even more financial support as well as great media attention. It could certainly make a big splash in the Reinvent Paris call for projects, in which it is taking part.
Pricing for the Wind Tree turbine runs at about 29,500€. Time will tell just how this product will be used. NewWind shows the prototype in urban public spaces, such as parks, and it is certainly imaginable in many open spaces. While it’s definitely a new concept to address urban sustainability challenges, I question how the “planting” of these new turbine-trees will impact their natural neighbors in an urban setting. Whether people will go for the juxtaposition could be at issue. Municipalities purchasing it will have to address what exact use it will serve, in particular how much power they are expecting to get from it when deciding if it’s worth the cost. However, the response it receives in Paris, a city of aesthetics, will be highly demonstrative as to whether or not this will be a hit on the market as a whole.