The tree that…charges your phone?

The tree that charges your phone?
The tree that charges your phone?   

You may have thought that trees have a finite number of uses: shade, timber and helping to maintain the world's oxygen levels. But helping to charge your mobile?

An Israeli company specializing in solar energy, Sologic, has taken inspiration from the forest with its 'eTree'. Standing four and a half meters tall and with solar panels acting as an artificial 'canopy', the eTree can produce an average of seven kilowatts of power daily, according to Sologic.

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Equipped with USB ports for cell phones and other devices, the eTree also provides free Wi-Fi -- and has a built in water fountain.

Michael Lasry is the founder and managing director of Sologic. "Trees… [are] a symbol of life," he told Sustainable Energy. "With the shade that it creates, so it gives the first application to the communities: to sit down and to relax in the shade."

Jordan Siemens | Digital Vision | Getty Images

Sologic's design and concept reflects a growing adoption of solar power, from vast installations such as Ivanpah in the United States to smaller scale ideas such as the eTree.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), at the beginning of 2014 the global capacity of solar photovoltaics exceeded 150 gigawatts.

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In its 2011 report, Solar Energy Perspectives, the IEA envisioned a future where, if certain conditions were met and a range of policies implemented, "solar energy could provide a third of the global final energy demand after 2060."

That date is a long way off, and for Lasry, his solar tree is attracting interest in the here and now.

"[We've] had around 500 requests worldwide from potential customers and people that are requesting to distribute the eTree," he said.