Harvesting Wind Energy From Trees

Imagine if a world full of forests generated all the energy we need. That dream could become reality with a new form of wind power production that turns tree movement into clean energy. The technology hinges upon piezoelectricity – the electric charge produced from a vibration applied to any material. According to a new report in the Journal of Sound and Vibration, the movement of trees in the wind produces vibrations that could be successfully converted into energy.

Piezoelectricity-

The study, administered by engineers at Ohio State’s Laboratory of Sound and Vibration Research, found that it is possible to convert a random range of vibrations into a viable energy source through the natural vibrational energy of tree-like structures. The natural frequency is like a wall that absorbs and stores the energy from higher frequencies, just like a small ripple of water that accumulates into a large swell.

This complex science is dependent upon wind (which as we know, can be completely random) turbulently whipping a leaf or small branch around and that power being contained into a larger, powerful low-frequency sway of the tree itself. The engineers tested tiny artificial forests using small tree-like L-shaped steel beams wrapped with polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF), a piezoelectric material. The researchers were able to produce about 2 Volts of energy.

Piezoelectricity can be produced from a variety of materials — from tapping on a keyboard to a swaying skyscraper. In fact, the concept has already been patented using keyboard covers. It’s a huge step forward in renewable energy, and we’re anxious to see how it folds. (Inhabitat)

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