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Harvesting power From Nature’s Motions

30 October 2009 One Comment

Technology.am (Oct 30, 2009) — By taking benefit of the vagaries of the natural world, Duke University engineers have developed an original advance that they deem is capable of more competently produce electricity from the motions of daily life.

HarvestingEnergy harvesting is the procedure of converting one type of energy, for example motion, into another form of energy, in this case electrical energy. Strategies range from the progress of enormous wind farms to generate huge amounts of electricity to using the vibrations of walking to power small electronic devices.

Even though motion is copious resource of energy, just inadequate accomplishment has been achieved since the devices used simply perform well over a constricted group of frequencies. These supposed “linear” devices know how to work well, for example, if the nature of the motion is reasonably stable, such as the rhythm of an individual walking. Nevertheless, as researchers indicate the pace of somebody walking, as with all environmental sources, varies over time and can differ widely.

“The perfect device would be one that can convert a series of vibrations instead of just a narrow band,” said Samuel Stanton, graduate student in Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering, working in the laboratory of Brian Mann, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and materials sciences. The team, which included undergraduate Clark McGehee, published the outcome of their newest experiments early online in Applied Physics Letters.

“Nature doesn’t work in a single frequency, so we sought to come up with a device that would work over a wide range of frequencies,” Stanton said. “By using magnets to ‘tune’ the bandwidth of the experimental device, we were able verify in the lab that this new non-linear approach can outperform conventional linear devices.”

The explanation to the novel approach involved placing moveable magnets of opposing poles on either side of the magnet at the end of the cantilever arm. By varying the distance of the portable magnets, the researchers were able to “tune” the communications of the system with its surroundings, and consequently generate electricity over a broader band of frequencies.

Photo credit: kevindooley

One Comment »

  • r4 ds said:

    Dont forget about electric cars wheels turning and thus recharging the batteries. Must be 0.5 % efficient.

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