An affordable wind harvester turns a gentle breeze into electricity

The quest for generating new green energy is increasing by the day. Scientists worldwide are researching and inventing new ways to produce green energy. Wind energy production has attracted much attention from researchers, says professor Yang Yaowen.

At Nanyang technological university (NTU), Singapore, scientists have invented an inexpensive device that harvests energy from a gentle breeze and converts it into electricity which can power a small commercial sensor.

According to professor Yang Yaowen, the research aims to address the lack of small energy harvesters for more targeted functionality. This small, inexpensive harvester measures about 15 * 20cm. You can install the wind harvester on the sides of building facades in urban areas.

The wind harvester comprises a cantilevered beam secured to a central plate of layers that utilize the triboelectric energy effect.

The device vibrates when the harvester exposes to the wind. Advanced wind turbines use triboelectric wind technology, like wearable devices that generate energy while walking.

This wind harvester can produce up to 3 volts, generate up to 290 microwatts, and even divert or store electricity in a battery to power devices when there is no breeze.

The developers reveal that the overall production of the wind harvester may be cheap because the central power-generating attachment that interacts with the breeze comes from low-cost materials like aluminum foil, Teflon, and copper.

The energy generated from this wind harvester is sufficient to transfer data to mobile phones, computers, and power commercial sensor devices.

During laboratory tests, the scientists used the wind harvester to power sensors that wirelessly transmit room temperature data to a mobile phone.

In one experiment, the device was used to power 40 LEDs at a wind speed of 4m/s continuously.

The wind harvester does not use heavy metals, requires random maintenance, and is self-sufficient.

Also, the device is a potential replacement for small lithium-ion batteries because it is self-sufficient, says professor Yang Yaowen, who led the research.

The NTU team continues to work to improve the device’s performance and is filing for a license as they pursue the commercialization of the technology.