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What is a Wind Belt?

written by: Raunekk•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 9/29/2009

Learn about an alternative method for harnessing the wind energy for small scale power requirements.

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    Introduction

    As the awareness towards generating green energy increases on a global platform, various kinds of renewable energy equipments are seen entering the global market on a daily basis. However, there are few innovations that stand out among others. These innovative equipments are the prospective weapons for fighting the huge energy crisis the world is facing today.

    Wind belt in one of such devices that holds a promising future in the renewable energy market. This device converts wind energy to electrical energy by means of a stretched membrane and few magnets located within metal coils.

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    Why to Use Wind Belt When there are Other Methods for Harnessing Wind Energy?

    A wind belt is generally used for catering to small scale energy needs. A conventional turbine can do the same work, however the cost of establishing and maintaining a wind turbine is an expensive and cumbersome task. A wind mill also has gear boxes and other components that lead to high losses of energy due to friction. Thus a wind belt is used for applications having a power need of 50 watts or less.

    windbelt-technology-illustr 

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    Wind Belt

    The arrangement consists of a stretched membrane attached to a pair of magnets which are free to move in between metal coils. The device uses the effect called “the aeroelastic flutter movement" to induce electricity. Aeroelastic is a phenomenon that deals with energy generation by interaction between elastic and aerodynamic forces. Inertial force also plays an important part in this.

    Electricity is generated due to the fluttering motions of the string which moves a magnet in between electromagnetic coils. The continuous fluttering movement along with the magnets induces current in the coils.

    windbelt-magnet-and-coils 

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    Advantages

    The construction of a wind belt is much simpler to that of a conventional wind turbine. In a wind turbine, gears and other mechanical systems help in moving the turbine and generate electricity, whereas a wind belt is just a very simple mechanism which can be made easily with just few dollars. Moreover, wind belt uses even the lightest of the winds for vibrating the membrane.

    In a recent experiment, a prototype of wind belt was found to be ten to thirty times more efficient than micro turbines. Moreover, as the constructing a wind belt is cheap, it can be an excellent alternative especially in rural areas where kerosene is used for lesser amount of power. As kerosene produces smoke that is known to create health problems, a wind belt seems to be an effective alternative device in the rural areas.

    windbelt-mounted-to-house 

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    References And Image Credits

    Popular Mechanics

    Reuk website

    http://vincenzoindk.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/windbelt-technology-illustr.jpg