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Golden Age Technology

Capturing the Power of a Breeze: A Key to Off-grid Living

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Why not produce your own electricity from wind energy? Wind power is one of the world’s most widely used renewable energy sources, and according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, it’s the top source of sustainable electricity generation in the United States. It is 100% renewable, eco-friendly, and free to generate.

A group from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has developed a new generator to harness the power of even the softest breeze. This great invention was inspired by the way Venetian blinds flutter in the gentle breeze of an open window. The device uses low-velocity winds that can be less than 15 km per hour. Next is a cool invention called the “Wind Tree” developed by French innovator Jérôme Michaud-Larivière and his company New World Wind. The tree-shaped wind turbine, a steel structure that stands 9.8 meters high and is 7.2 meters wide, is small enough to fit in your backyard. The device has 36 leaves called Aeroleaves that rotate in the wind in almost total silence, operating as mini vertical turbines that can harness winds as low as 7 km per hour and generate 3.5 KW of energy, enough to power a house for a family of four. Another great invention, a portable device that’s 2.5 cm, by 7.6 cm, by 1.9 cm comes from researchers at the Beijing Institute of Nanoenergy and Nanosystems. The device, which is designed to harness the power of a slight breeze, is not technically a turbine, being comprised of two thin strips of plastic that flap together inside a tube. This flapping action generates an electrical charge through the so-called “triboelectric effect.”

Mr. Daniel Connell, a renewable energy and open-source technology designer and inventor from New Zealand, shows us how to make one almost entirely from scrap materials. Let’s check out this wonderful design…

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