The current prototype is a panel of 25 pads that oscillate in the wind. Each pad is attached to piezoelectric transducers that produce energy from these vibrations. Electronmagnetic coils are also being explored as an alternative to piezoelectrics. The panel is being tested on the side and roof of buildings. Researchers envision deploying these devices to produce energy in urban environments for displays, lights, signs, and sensors. Energy could also be stored for other uses.
Current wind harvesting involves rotary turbines. Shortcomings in these technologies include noise, danger to birds and bats, displaced land, sheer size, investment cost, and difficult implementation in urban environment. The current prototype can function in variable wind speeds and generates little noise and vibration.
Researchers were inspired by the way leaves move in the wind and sought to capitalize on this vibratory motion as a way to harvest energy.
Wind turbine shortcomings, wind energy deployment in an urban environment, cost of traditional wind turbines.Edit Summary