Nature inspired design: Artificial Trees – a new form of wind power

If every movement of every leaf on every artificial tree helps generate electricity, can you imagine the incredible amounts of electricity we could produce!? 

Also, who doesn’t like trees!? 

Researchers in the US have come up with a new concept wherein the smallest of movements/vibrations can be translated into electricity. This idea involves the use of a mechanical tree that utilizes a system that would work with the natural breeze or movements caused by other factors (like a car zipping past or a child skipping past the artificial tree), thus producing a new sustainable method of energy production.

Everyday, we produce a lot of kinetic energy that usually goes to waste. This technology helps recover and recycle some of that energy. The researchers used a mathematical model in order to understand a process called  Internal Resonance that helped understand how irregular oscillations produced by casual gusts of wind could result in the production of steady electricity.

As a part of the initial testing process for this concept, a tree-like structure was built with 2 small steel rods (one forming the trunk and the other the branch). It was noticed that even when the tree wasn’t visibly shaking, it was still producing a small voltage. A couple irregular nudges to it displayed an increase in voltage. Thus, proving the ability of random energies to produce electricity.

Ryan Harne (Project Leader) and his team are now studying this concept further in order to build a solution that is viable and can be used as a long-term renewable energy source.

–  Vaishnavi on behalf of the ABA team