Despite so much wind energy around us the only way to harness this energy man has figured is by the use of wind turbine. With their advantages Wind turbines have a lot of disadvantages too, as a result they are not that popular. They are huge, require large space for mounting and ultimate they cost a lot. A lot of conservationist consider them as a danger for birds and sensitive natural habitats. So the only way to solve these problems is to find a new design approach and that's what Vibro-Wind is about.
The main difference between a conventional wind turbine and Vibro-Wind is not only the design but also its working. A conventional wind turbine has a big fan (turbine) which is coupled with a gear box which is further coupled with a generator(dynamo). This is what makes it noisy. All these components are costly to manufacture, have to be assemble at site and also require a good amount of maintenance.
On the other hand the working of Vibro-Wind is pretty simple, it has a frame which mounts 25 pads made of foam. These pads vibrate when the wind flows over them just like leaves on a tree. Each pad is coupled with Piezoelectric Transducer (piezoelectric cantilevers). These pads individually generate small amounts of current. The current goes down the wire to be stored in a battery. Of course the prototype only has 25 pads which could generate only a notable amount of electric current but this could be scaled to any level. The innovative Vibro-Wind design and technology is the brain child of Francis Moon, a Mechanical Engineering professor at Cornell University. The prototype project was developed by a team of Engineering students from Cornell University led by Mr Moon.
|Credit: Cornell Chronicle Online|
This Design can have a huge urban application it even adds a new dimension to the use of vibration energy. These kind of pads can be mounted on top of high building or even integrated on the wall of the buildings, this could generate significant amount of power to may be run public amenities in the building. Its totally renewable technology, low on maintenance and pretty easy and cheap to manufacture. Its even bird friendly. Lets see if it could replace the wind turbines in the years to come. This is just a prototype, the design has a lot of scope to improve. This project was supported by the Atkinson Center’s first round of Academic Venture Funding.