Zero Emission Tree

Practical technology class

The Zero Emission Tree (ZET) was developed by the Smart Systems for Healthy Living research group at HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht; it is a sustainable charging point that is designed to look like a tree. A canopy of solar cells enables the tree to generate energy.


The object of the Zero Emission Tree is to encourage more employees to leave their cars at home (more often) and to travel to work by e-bike.

The ZET is a practical result of the research group’s Smart Storage project. The objective of this project is to improve knowledge of how to store sustainable energy.

The development of knowledge about sustainable energy storage is vital to ensure the proper charging and discharging of electric car batteries.


The first prototype was put into operation in June 2013.

The Netherlands’ first charging tree has been positioned at the entrance to the Botanical Gardens since July 2013. Any excess energy that the tree generates is used for the Botanical Gardens. The tree incorporates as many natural materials and organic forms as possible, because of which it blends into its surroundings and is associated with sustainability.

The second charging tree can be found in the car park of HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht at Oudenoord 700. A third tree is currently being developed for the location in Zwolle. The research group is in discussions with various market participants about putting the charging tree into production.


01 January 2012 - 01 January 2016


HU researchers involved in the research

  • Erik Puik
    Erik Puik
    • Professor
    • Research groups: Smart Systems for Healthy Living

Related research groups

Collaboration with knowledge partners

HU University of Applied Sciences Utrecht, Smart Systems for Healthy Living research group, Enexis-Unplugged, Ontwerpbureau Moorgen, Utrecht University

Would you like to collaborate or do you have any questions?

Erik Puik

Erik Puik

  • Professor
  • Research group: Smart Systems for Healthy Living