According to statistics, about 2 percent of global electricity comes from wind-powered generators, and their capacity has doubled in the past three years. However, scaling down wind turbines for use as an electronic device charger hasn’t proved fruitful, as conventional wind turbines require rotating fins and gears, which add bulk, making the device inefficient when scaled down.
Humdinger Wind Energy LLC has developed a product dubbed the MicroBelt that according to the company can power the new information age with a billion tiny harvests. The world today is monitored by millions of wireless sensors that collect a variety of information. These sensors then connect the real world with the internet world by consuming energy.
Batteries might initially seem perfect for these sensors, but considering that the number of wireless sensors being installed is increasing constantly, replacing billions of batteries might be a problem. The company is seeking answers in a device that uses aeroelastic flutter and vibration of a membrane rather than a spinning turbine.
Compared to other piezoelectric turbine-based systems, the MicroBelt is considered to be ten times more efficient producing milliwatts of power, depending on the wind speed. Power is produced in air flows from as little as 3 m/s. At 5.5 m/s of wind flow the power output is 2mW. Apart from efficiency, another advantage of the system is that it is cheap to produce, as the materials are very simple. Humdinger is progressing applications such as building monitoring and transit monitoring that will rely on such wind turbines.