First-of-its-kind flag renewable energy system developed by UK scientists

First-of-its-kind flag renewable energy system developed by UK scientists

February 18, 2019 0 By Amanda Giasson

An energy-harvesting device uses inverted flags to generate renewable energy.

University of Manchester scientists have developed a flag renewable energy generation device that is believed to be the first to harvest wind and solar energy at the same time.

The energy generated from the flags could be sufficient enough to power remote sensors.

While the electricity generated from the flag renewable energy system isnโ€™t enough to power a building, house or even devices like smartphones, it may produce enough energy to be useful for other applications that require minimal power.

For instance, the team of scientists – who published a paper detailing their research in the journal Applied Energy โ€“ believe that the device could be utilized to power environmental sensors that monitor certain things like sound levels, air pollution, inner city ambient temperature, and very small portable electronics. In essence, it may be ideal for remote sensors that can be set and left alone.

The flag renewable energy device harvests energy from its piezoelectric strips.

The device uses an inverted flag setup. Although the leading edge of the flag is free to move, the trailing edge remains secured. The body of each flag is composed of piezoelectric strips. These strips harvest energy as the device flaps in the wind while its flexible photovoltaic cells capture solar power.

The flags were tested in both calm and gale-force wind speeds with continuous light exposure. The researchers found that such operational conditions led to a power output of up to 3-4 milliwatts.

“Wind and solar energies typically have intermittencies that tend to compensate each other,” study co-author Dr. Andrea Cioncolini said, reports New Atlas.

“The sun does not usually shine during stormy conditions, whereas calm days with little wind are usually associated with shiny sun. This makes wind and solar energies particularly well suited for simultaneous harvesting, with a view at compensating their intermittency.”

The team of researchers hope to continue developing their flag renewable energy harvesting concept. They would like to boost the power output so that the device would be more suitable for applications that demand greater power, such as charging stations for mobile devices.

Flag renewable energy device - University of Manchester Media Relations YouTubeThe team hopes to further develop the concept, upping the power output for more demanding applications such as charging stations for mobile devices.