The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have built a patented generator that uses low-velocity winds to produce energy.
The new generator creates power by using ‘elastic tension gradient’ strips.
Built at the Corps’ Engineer Research and Development Center, the prototype generator has a base structure made of PVC piping that supports eight elastic strips mounted vertically on rotating tensioning tubes.
The strips are positioned in parallel with the wind’s direction and their front-to-back elasticity gives them a constant serpentine wiggle.
This wriggle helps move an embedded copper induction coil across a smooth pipe containing magnets.
Wiring transmits the induced electricity from the coil generators to a power converter and output where it can be used for all sorts of work.
The researchers contend that guide planes can also be attached to funnel more air current over the flaps.
A stiffening bar too can be added to at the midpoint of the elastic flaps, enhancing the generation of serpentine motion by providing an increased surface area for the fluid without hindering the serpentine motion.
The generator was invented by army engineers Charles Marsh, Axy Pagan-Vazquez, Carl Feickert, Aaron Averbuch, Meredith Sellers, Christopher Joel Foster, Scott Lux, Justin Hesterberg, Andy Friedl, and John Alexander Magerko, III.
In a 2014 report, Marsh and Feickert wrote that the idea for the fluid generator was initially inspired by “common Venetian blinds, fluttering in the gentle breeze of an open window.”
TechLink, the army’s new inventions marketing partner, has been tasked with seeking entrepreneurs or businesses that could make, use, or sell the generator commercially.
Marti Elder, a senior technology manager at TechLink and invention licensing expert, says the new technology can be scaled up and could expand the geographic boundaries of wind energy production to places with historically low winds.
The generator is also eco- and bio-friendly as its blade-less design reduces impact on birds and bats.
Image and content: EJ Hersom/DoD