Schone energie opwekken zonder - volgens sommigen - lelijke windmolens te hoeven bouwen? Het kan, zeggen Franse onderzoekers: ook met simpele vlaggen is windenergie te vangen.
Are traditional bulky turbines the only way to capture the energy blowing in the wind? The answer, my friend, is apparently No.
Earlier this year, a team of scientists from Ecole Polytechnique and Paris Superior National School of Advanced Techniques (Ensta ParisTech) measured how a “simple” flag made of the right material can also be well-suited for the production of energy.
Over the last decade, researchers have been working on the possibility of producing power out of such undulations of a flexible membrane in water, another fluid, or in the air. Piezoelectric ceramics, which create tension when being deformed, are among the most promising materials.
According to the simulations published in Physical Review Applied, the more wind there is the more electricity it creates, though not proportionally because of the erratic undulations of the flag. Where it is interesting, however, is that for the first time, it highlights that the wind is not the only factor in the efficiency of the system; the type of circuit to which it is tied also has great influence. Sébastien Michelin, from l’Ecole Polytechnique, and Olivier Doaré, from Ensta ParisTech explain that “within certain conditions, the productivity can jump from 0.1 to 6%.”
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