Great wind collector idea without turbine! (for city buildings)
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Some energy-harvesting devices show promise but haven't yet found a large market. Look, for example, at the approach taken by Humdinger Wind Energy. The company invented the Windbelt technology that harnesses wind energy in devices that can range from palm-size up to several meters across.
"We use a tensioned membrane that has magnets mounted on it," said Shawn Frayne, Humdinger's president and co-founder. "As air flows across the membrane it undergoes aeroelastic flutter. It's the same effect that ripped apart the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in 1940. When the membrane reaches a limit--a stable positive-feedback loop between competing lift and tension forces in the structure--we can extract power from a coil as the magnets change the field through it. With a wind speed of six meters per second (about 13 or 14 miles per hour), we can obtain from a milliwatt up to several milliwatts in a pack-of-gum sized system.
According to Frayne, Humdinger makes custom units for people who want to explore energy harvesting on different scales; however the technology is still very much "in the lab." But Frayne sees many potential uses wherever people have enough fluid flow they can tap for energy.
From the business direction, Frayne seeks to work with partners who can create complete products. "I don't see a situation where someone buys a wireless sensor node from Company A and then says, 'Let's power this with a windbelt.' They probably want to buy a little block that has all the wireless sensors and includes a windbelt."
"There's always interest in energy harvesting," said Frayne. "Everyone's just waiting for the market to blossom."