Wind energy in miniature
Scientists in Singapore have developed a low-cost device that can harness the energy of light breezes and store it as electricity.
At a wind speed of just two metres per second, the device can generate a voltage of three volts and an electrical output of up to 290 microwatts. This is enough to power a standard sensor device and send the data to a mobile phone or computer.
The lightweight and robust device, a so-called wind harvester, also diverts the electricity it does not need into a battery where it can be stored. In this way, devices can be operated even when there is no wind.
Wind energy for light-emitting diodes and sensors
According to the research team at Nanyang Technological University, the invention has the potential to replace batteries for powering light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and sensors for monitoring the condition of buildings. These are used on urban structures such as bridges and skyscrapers to monitor their structural condition and alert engineers to problems such as instability or physical damage.
Measuring just 15 by 20 centimetres, the device can be easily attached to the sides of buildings and would be ideal for urban environments.