Windbelt

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The Windbelt is a device for converting wind power to electricity.[1] A windbelt is essentially an aeolian harp except that it exploits the motion of the string produced by the aeroelastic flutter effect to move a magnet closer and farther from one or more coils and thus induce current in the wires that make up the coil.

Prototypes of the device are claimed to be 10 - 30 times more efficient than small wind turbines. One prototype has powered two LEDs, a radio, and a clock (separately) using wind generated from a household fan.[2] The cost of the materials was well under US$10.[3] $2–$5 for 40 mW is a cost of $50–$125 per watt. In reality 40 mW from a 50% efficient 25w fan gives 0.32% efficiency.

There are three sizes in development:

  • The microBelt, a 12 cm version. This could be put into production in around six months. Its expected to produce 1 milliwatt average.[4] To charge a pair of ideal rechargeable AA cells (2.5Ah 1.2v) this would take 6000 hours, or 250 days.
  • The Windcell, a 1 metre version that could be used to power meshed WiFi repeaters, charge cellphones, or run LED lights. This could go into production within 18 to 24 months. It is hoped that a square metre panel at 6 m/s average windspeed can generate 10 W average.[5]
  • an experimental 10-metre model that has no production date.[6][7][8][9]

The Windbelt's inventor, Shawn Frayne, was a winner of the 2007 Breakthrough Award from the publishers of the magazine, Popular Mechanics.[10] He is trying to make the Windbelt cheaper.[11]

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