The world’s first non-turbine wind-harvesting technology? That’s what a company called Humdinger is pursuing with their patented Windbelt technology–the tiniest example of which, the MicroBelt, may one day be able to replace the tiny batteries used in sensors for building monitors.
Millions of these tiny sensors are already at work in the world today, collecting information and connecting to monitors via the Internet, consuming energy–and the more the smart building future becomes the smart building present, the more of these energy-hungry little sensors we’ll need. Enter the MicroBelt, which, according to Ecofriend, uses aeroelastic flutter and vibration of a membrane rather than a spinning turbine to harvest energy, eliminating the need for millions of tiny batteries.
This seems to be concurrent with the present line of thought concerning piezoelectrics, or devices that harvest vibration–rather than capturing energy on a giant scale and distributing it, the idea is to capture energy on a small scale and use it locally. The MicroBelt is considered ten times more efficient in producing milliwatts of power than other piezoelectric wind devices, depending on the wind speed, which gives it some definite promise.
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