Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a new method for generating energy from water flows:
The new device, which has been inspired by the way fish swim, consists of a system of cylinders positioned horizontal to the water flow and attached to springs.
As water flows past, the cylinder creates vortices, which push and pull the cylinder up and down. The mechanical energy in the vibrations is then converted into electricity.
Cylinders arranged over a cubic metre of the sea or river bed in a flow of three knots can produce 51 watts. This is more efficient than similar-sized turbines or wave generators, and the amount of power produced can increase sharply if the flow is faster or if more cylinders are added.
More about this VIVACE (Vortex Induced Vibrations Aquatic Clean Energy) technology can be found here.
[via Jon Taplin’s blog][image from Jon Taplin’s blog]
Now this is just a great idea, plain and simple – clothing made from fabrics with piezo-electric materials embedded in them, which will generate electric current as a result of the flexing produced by the wearer’s motion. The project has been sponsored to the tune of AUS$4.4million by the Australian Defence Department, and the potential for military applications is obvious enough, but the same technology would be very lucrative in the commercial sector too. Of course, it’s not in the bag yet – the researchers behind the idea suggest a viable product may be ready in four or five years – but the day when I can travel without having to pack an arsenal of batteries and wall-warts can’t come soon enough. [Via SmartMobs] [Image by Mgus]
[tags]mobile, devices, power, generation, clothing[/tags]