Published By
Follow us:
follow us on twitter
subscrive to our rss feed
follow us on facebook
Energy Harvesting Europe 2015
Energy Harvesting Journal

Wind energy harvester from Humdinger

ZoomWind energy harvester from Humdinger
About 2% of global electricity production comes from wind-powered generators. Their capacity has doubled in the past three years. In some countries it is more popular than solar energy because it is cheaper on a cost per watt basis. However, for powering small devices there has been minimal activity to harvest energy from the wind. This is because conventional electromagnetic wind turbines require rotating fins and gearing which adds bulk, and they become less efficient when scaled down. Virginia Tech University in the US is doing research into piezoelectric turbines, where they have developed a "contactless" turbine where the losses are only mechanical friction on bearings and magnetic friction but so far the output power is low and they are less effective at high wind velocities. Piezoelectrics are also relatively expensive.
IDTechEx met with Humdinger last week in Hong Kong, a start-up company of six people that has developed a completely new approach to wind energy harvesters. The device, pictured, uses aeroelastic flutter and vibration of a membrane rather than a spinning turbine.
The microBelt from Humdinger Wind Energy
ZoomWind energy harvester from Humdinger
Source: Humdinger
Compared to piezoelectric turbine-based systems, this is about ten times more efficient, producing milliwatts of power depending on the wind speed. Power is produced in air flows from as little as 3 m/s. At 5.5 m/s of wind flow the power output is 2mW. The power output versus wind speed is shown below.
Power output versus wind speed
ZoomWind energy harvester from Humdinger
Source: Humdinger
The company has created wireless sensors powered by the harvester. Humdinger president Shawn Frayne told IDTechEx that the membrane does not undergo fundamental plastic deformation when it flutters/vibrates and so they expect at least twenty years of use.
Another exciting advantage of the system is that it is very cheap to produce because the materials are simple - Frayne reports that in high volumes the price of a microBelt could approach that of a single battery (while delivering an energy equivalent to hundreds of batteries over its lifetime), being significantly cheaper compared to most other energy harvesters on a like for like power output.
The company is progressing applications such as building monitoring and transit monitoring. For example, in buildings sensors in HVAC ducts can be used to significantly reduce power consumption in buildings. Here solar power cannot be used because there is no light and the thermal gradient is too low for thermoelectric energy harvesters. Structural monitoring of bridges, buildings etc is another focus area.
One research path the company is taking is towards printed versions of the microBelt, allowing for a smaller and more convenient form factor.
Humdinger has received angel investment and grants from the Hong Kong government. Their main focus now is to work with select partners on specific applications tailoring the harvester as needed. Humdinger will be presenting at the IDTechEx Energy Harvesting & Storage event in Munich, Germany on May 26-27 ( External Link). For more information about the company, see External Link.
Top image source Humdinger


Raghu Das

Raghu Das

Raghu Das is the CEO of IDTechEx. He has authored many reports on the topic and conducts global consulting projects.
+44 (0)1223 812300
Webinars Generic Banner
Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN) 2012-2022
Thermoelectric Energy Harvesting 2014-2024
Energy Harvesting and Storage for Electronic Devic

IDTechEx ReportsIDTechEx Reports

Energy Harvesting and Storage 2014-2024: Forecasts, Technologies, Players
Updated in Oct 2014
Thermoelectric Energy Harvesting 2014-2024: Devices, Applications, Opportunities
Updated in Oct 2014
Piezoelectric Energy Harvesting 2013-2023: Forecasts, Technologies, Players
Updated in Jan 2014
Energy Harvesting/ Regeneration for Electric Vehicles Land, Water & Air 2015-2025
Brand new for December 2014
The Solar Flare Executive Report Series
Full details here
Photovoltaic Manufacturer Shipments: Capacity, Price & Revenues 2013/2014
Full details here
Global Analysis of the Markets for Solar Products & Five-Year Forecast 2013/2014
Full details here
Wireless Power Transmission for Consumer Electronics and Electric Vehicles 2014-2024
Full details here
Organic Photovoltaics (OPV) 2013-2023: Technologies, Markets, Players
Full details here
Dye Sensitized Solar Cells (DSSC/DSC) 2013-2023: Technologies, Markets, Players
Full details here
Analysis of Energy Harvesting Applications
Full details here
Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN) 2014-2024: Forecasts, Technologies, Players
Updated in March 2014
Electrochemical Double Layer Capacitors: Supercapacitors 2014-2024
Full details here
Batteries & Supercapacitors in Consumer Electronics 2013-2023: Forecasts, Opportunities, Innovation
Updated in Feb 2014
Thin Film Photovoltaics 2012-2022: Forecasts, Technologies, Analysis
Updated in Aug 2013

IDTechEx EventsIDTechEx Events