Temperature change to harvest voltage is a good idea. These folks even have a working prototype. My thought is that there is a great build up of static electricity on an aircraft in flight (witness the static "wicks" on the wing trailing edges that help dissipate it). Wonder if this energy could be harvested as well?
That's quite interesting, notarboca, I didn't think of that. But if the temperature-change method proves successful, I'm sure researchers will look for other ways to harvest energy on airplanes as well. That could be another way they do it.
When I started reading this article, I was expecting the energy source to be vibration. I live near O'Hare Airport in Chicago and my windows often shake when planes approach runway 27. So I was surprised to see that it uses temperature differences, which is certainly a viable source as well, given that the temperature outside at 35,000 feet is about -40F. Maybe they could use both sources and gather even more energy.
I know what you mean, Chuck, that is exactly what I thought when I only read a headline about the work before I actually read about the research itself. I have previously spoken to other researchers about using vibrations of cars passing over a bridge to harvest energy for structural integrity sensors, so I knew vibration was a viable method. I suppose what you're proposing is definitely a future possibility.
Hey, yeah, I commented on your other comment about car vibrations. But you're right, there should be a way to do that! Perhaps something through the engine to the radio system? I am not an engineer myself and don't know how that would be possible, but there has to be a way, I'm sure, Chuck. What a great idea.
Seems like you could get some pretty good vibration from a lot of places around the vehicle -- the floor, firewall, dashboard, stereo speakers. I don't know how much current you'd get from that, but if you're driving five or six hours, it doesn't seem like charging an iPod should be out of the question. I realize not everyone drives for five or six hours at a time (as I frequently do), but for those of us who do, we might as well put our car's vibrations to work.
Not commuting in the traditional to-work-and-back sense, Liz, but to colleges and back. I live in Illinois and have one son in college in Iowa and another in Minnesota. Long round-trips make for great opportunities to harvest vibration energy.
Ah, interesting, vimalkumarp, to know that there is a variety of research in this area. Although I shouldn't be surprised, as it has a lot of potential. Good luck and keep us posted when you publish your research.
Charles not only vibrations but there are many different methods of harvesting energy in order to charge the cell phones, Iphones,ipods etc. Once i have read that dance floors were designed in an special way to generate energy , In UK footpath stiles are designed to generate energy and that energy is used to light the street lights,Special shot pockets designed to charge cell phones, Iphones etc on go . I guess the technology of generating energy is on the boom and in future many innovative and interesting methods will be developed .
Ann, Thanks a lot for this informative post I really liked the idea of using tepmerature differences and harvesting energy for sensors . If this technology works well than this will be a very big asset in terms of harvesting energy .
Thermoelectric energy harvesting that works by taking advantage of temperature changes is not a new idea. But using this method in such an innovative way on airplanes is pretty new. I really like the closed loop of harvesting energy created by the plane to power sensors that monitor that plane's health.
Why not cowl to ambient? The temperature difference between ambient air and inside the cowl is huge even in my diminutive aircraft.
The static discharge can be very impressive. After one night flight I was attaching the tow bar to the nose wheel and saw a good 3" spark jump into the tow bar. That's why there are sooooo many warnings about grounding before fueling.
That's why there are sooooo many warnings about grounding before fueling.
Static electric charge developed during the flight is huge. Do ground crews have to worry about a shock hazzard if the aircraft has not had the charge dissipated? How is the static charge buildup is prevented from reaching hazzardous potetial?
This may be a viable source of unused energy, but is the addition of extra weight and equipment used to collect and store it overall as or more efficient than conventional sources? For some reason, a little red flag starts waving in my brain every time I read one of these 'something for nothing' articles.
That is indeed a valid concern, jhankwitz, but I think the developers of this technology tried to take that into consideration, which is why the sensor is using an energy harvester rather than a traditional power source. But you are right to be skeptical of the idea of "something for nothing," that is for sure.
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