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The energy demands of society are increasing, and the ability to produce this energy from renewable sources such as wind must also increase to meet these demands. Large wind turbines are a great way to harvest renewable wind power, but they are often too large to use in an urban environment.
This project focuses on designing wind energy harvesters, based on existing iterations that produce output power per area comparable to that of an efficient wind turbine, approximately 3 watts per harvester that is 1 meter long. In order to reach this target power level, two innovative designs are under investigation. Each design involves two elastic belts tightly stretched in parallel with one another, and suspended at both ends on a solid frame. One design features separate coils made out of multiple turns of thin copper wire strategically placed on the membrane, whereas the other uses a single elongated copper coil across each of the two parallel membranes. In both designs, permanent magnets mounted on the frame between the two membranes. Wind flow causes the membranes and the copper coils attached to them to flutter, which in a stationary magnetic field produces a time varying magnetic flux through the coils and induces an AC electric current. The number of turns in the coils, the magnetic field strength, the frequency of flutter controlled by the wind speed, and the design dimensions all influence the magnitude of induced current, and therefore, the maximum electrical power that can be produced. This output would then be put through a transformer to increase the output voltage, and then that voltage will be converted to DC using a rectifier circuit.
At the scale of our design, the Windbelt has three primary benefits over other common renewable energy harnessing systems: solar panels and wind turbines. First, due to its lower profile it can be incorporated into the architecture of buildings and provide invisible energy generation. Second, the device is highly modular, having the ability to be connected in either series or parallel in order to generate greater voltages or currents. The frames of the Windbelts will be designed such that multiple belts can be easily connected together in both configurations. Third, the Windbelts are significantly easier to maintain than solar panels or turbines particularly at locations that are not easily accessible. There are no moving parts in the conventional sense and the belts are easily replaced by non-technical personnel.
electrical and computer engineering, wind energy
Electrical and Computer Engineering | Engineering
VCU Capstone Design Expo Posters
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