The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Construction Engineering Research Laboratory (ERDC-CERL) is developing a new class of flexible, generative textile as a novel means of sustainable wind energy generation. Flexible, generative carbon nanotube (CNT)-based textiles may have excellent potential for electrical capacitive storage and reuse in conjunction with small-scale energy-harvesting systems, both from wind for fixed applications and from human locomotion.
This paper describes the design and optimization of a three-layer generative textile composed of discrete layers for generation, distribution, and storage. Initial results suggest that improvement in the generation layer will provide the highest increase in overall performance. The output of the electromagnetic tests shows a power density of 0.17 mW/cm3. However, the efficiency can be significantly improved through increasing the voltage output of the generation layer from 20 mV to around 1V. In an analysis of the operational envelope, wind data collected locally at ERDC-CERL and at other sites around the world reveal close similarity in the probability distributions, which could allow for a practical engineering approach capable of harvesting the steady “ram” component in addition to a variable energy component of the wind. To further study the textile-wind interactions, a wind simulation environment is being developed and has been able to obtain reproducible wind speed data thus far.