If your neighborhood is anything like mine, you see a lot of people out for walks these days.
The invention we’re talking about today could turn each one of those people (and their dogs, too) into small scale power plants, just from the breeze they cause by walking!
The device, developed by a research team in China, can gather power from wind as light as 3.6 miles per hour, and creates enough electricity to power 100 small LED lights.
It often takes wind turbines about twice that wind speed to start generating energy.
What’s different with this little power device is that it has no wind turbine.
Instead, it has two small plastic strips that clap together and then separate in windy weather.
They create what’s known as triboelectricity, which is a charge created by friction.
The most famous example is the static electricity from rubbing a balloon on someone’s hair.
Imagine having a future version of this little device on hand so you could charge your smartphone while walking the dog.
Or, the researchers can see a much larger version that could gather electricity in areas where wind turbines wouldn’t fit or wouldn’t be effective.
All ideas for the future, of course, but it sounds like a technology that could end up being very, y’know, powerful.
And we’re not done generating power on this very windy edition of our show.
A Swedish company is planning to build OceanBird, a wind-powered cargo ship.
The concept calls for large smokestack-looking things that are actually wind sails, which they say that will be enough to carry thousands of cars across the Atlantic Ocean in 12 days, with 90 percent fewer emissions than usual.
It fits. I mean, sailors do like to say “blow me down,” right?
Oceanbird – wind powered cargo vessel is a revolution in the making (Red Ferret Journal)