Dubai’s palm trees power Wi-Fi, phones

The city of Dubai plans to install over 100 solar-powered ‘smart’ palm trees, which allow people to access Wi-Fi and charge their mobile phones for free. The Smart Palms are part of Dubai’s push to create a greener economy.

Developed by Dubai-based D Idea, the six-metre-tall Smart Palms are topped with nine leaf-shaped photovoltaic modules and can generate around 7.2 kilowatt hours per day. This is enough energy to power a Wi-Fi hotspot, eight charging stations for phones and tablets, and a touch-screen panel providing information on local weather and transportation – without ever drawing off the grid, reports the Thomas Reuters Foundation.

Two prototype Smart Palms have already been installed and a further 103 will be installed across the city of Dubai over the next 12 months. According to D Idea CEO Viktor Nelepa, subsequent Smart Palms will feature ATM machines and utility bill payment services. The company is also looking at ways the devices can support other forms of sustainable generation such as through air and water purification modules.

As the article explains, the Smart Palm project is one of several initiatives that Dubai has embraced in its bid to become one of the world’s most connected and sustainable cities over the next few years. Earlier this year the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority announced it was increasing its target share of renewables in Dubai’s energy mix from 5 per cent to 15 per cent by 2030. In March, the city re-launched the 40-year-old Al Khazan Park as the first park in Dubai to use solar energy for lighting and irrigation pumps.


Photo credit: Esteban Alvarez, flickr/Creative Commons

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