Bristol University researchers have developed a new way to provide free energy to businesses and homes. They have created a new type of energy-harvesting device that makes use of non-linear springs and mass.
The new type of spring enables the appliance to resonate over a much wider range of frequencies than a conventional one, which should broaden the number of applications in which it can be used. The amount of energy produced is similar in scale to a battery, but is more environmentally friendly, because the devices do not have the risk of leaking polluting chemicals on disposal. They also do not need to be regularly replaced.
“There’s a huge amount of free, clean energy out there in the form of vibrations that just can’t be tapped at the moment. Wider-frequency energy harvesters could make a valuable contribution to meeting energy needs more efficiently and sustainably,” said Dr Stephen Barrow, who is leading the project.
This device will be much greener than other similar products that store charge in built-in batteries, because it won’t make use of any batteries. Now the researchers are trying to figure out how vibrations caused by machines such as trains and helicopters could be used to produce electricity, that can power households.