This paper highlights the work done by the authors to develop and test a novel, biologically inspired, non-rotational wind energy extraction device. This device capitalizes on the principles of a wind deflected shaft and vortex induced vibrations to generate micro-scale power. Piezoelectric and magnetic flux methods are explored as options to convert the stored energy of mechanical deflection to electrical power. The device is modeled after long-stemmed grasses, grains, and bamboos and geometrically mimics their aspect ratio in order to replicate their movement in low altitude, turbulent flows. This design is based on a significant sampling of the shaft aspect ratios and head shapes of naturally occurring biological samples collected in the field. This concept has been affectionately christened the AWOG (Amber Waves of Grain) and shows promise for use in highly turbulent, low-level air flows close to the ground or mounting surface. Potential operating sites of the AWOG, include locations very close to ground level, along building rooflines, and in urban settings. To determine the efficiency and power output of a single AWOG unit, wind tunnel testing and in-situ field testing were performed. Power stored in a single deflected AWOG has been experimentally determined to be 430 w/m^2, which is comparable to existing wind turbine designs. Initial tests outlined in this paper are only able to recover a fraction of the stored energy. Practical applications of AWOG units would be to use them in formation and examinations are included for several proposed grouping methods. Analysis is performed to determine the ideal arrangement for grouped AWOG units based on experimental and field data from biological specimens and wind tunnel tests. This includes analyzing the effect that different configurations have on individual power output and efficiency of the formation as a whole. Recommendations are made as to the feasibility of use in a variety of settings and consideration is given concerning scaling of the AWOG to the micro-scale and to larger scales.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.