SBIR Phase I:Electricity From Biomimetic Grass
National Science Foundation
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Small Business Information
609 E. Lincoln Way, Ames, IA, 50010
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
AbstractThis SBIR Phase I project will develop the feasibility of using piezoelectric transducers to create an artificial plant, embodied as tall bunchgrass, that will harvest and store energy from wind. This device will have aesthetic appeal and provide a nonpolluting supplement to energy produced by wind turbines and combustion of fossil fuels. Rugged plastic leaves containing piezoelectric Kynar inserts will generate pulses of electricity when flexed by wind. Electrical currents will be full-wave rectified by diode bridges at the base of each leaf and routed in parallel to a smart battery charger. The broader/commercial impact of the project will be to produce energy from wind without the environmental concerns related to wind turbines. Currently, wind energy harvesting is accomplished with wind turbines that drive large electromagnetic generators. Turbines are mounted atop high towers often in rural districts in order to avoid turbulent airflow typical of populated areas, and also to meet threshold wind speed requirements. As wind-farms have spread, environmental concerns have been raised about their effects on wildlife, local wind patterns, and the health of nearby residents. This project will develop a new and transformational technology that exploits engineering solutions evolved by plants over the years that they have been interacting with wind.
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