At Ohio State’s Laboratory of Sound and Vibration Research, engineers have figured out a way to harness the movement of trees, created by wind, and turn it into electricity.
The havested energy is collected using piezoelectric material, that is an electric charge is produced simply by vibrating this stuff. Wind passes by the tree, whipping the branches and leaves, causing the trunk of the tree to vibrate at a much lower frequency. This is the frequency that is tapped into to produce the electricity.
Though the process has yet to be tested on actual trees, the engineers at Ohio State have built a replica situation to test the effect. By building L-shaped steel beams and wrapping them with polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF), the piezoelectric material, they were able to produce about 2 Volts of electricity.
The future applications of piezoelectric materials are exciting. From capturing the pressure of key strokes to the soles of your shoes striking the ground, the energy produced by every-day human activity is waiting to be harnessed.
The information was released in a recent article of the Journal of Sound and Vibration.