Alexander Altenkov explores the potential for electricity generation from the repeated oscillatory movements of tree branches.
Moscow-based artist and designer Alexander Altenkov has shared the results of a study exploring the potential of generating electricity through the repetitive oscillatory movements of tree branches.
Inspired by the continuous flows of energy found in nature, the anemokinetics project offers an alternative way to take advantage of the energy transformations that occur in our natural environment. This particular prototype shown is designed to use trees and their branch movements.
The first stage of Altenkov’s project consisted of a detailed analysis of how tree branches move. It included the monitoring of the fluctuations of the branches in order to identify the mean deviation with respect to the initial position of the branch. As a result, it was found that depending on the type of branch, the height and the wind speed, the fluctuations can vary from 1 to 45 cm.
Other work was carried out to develop a mechanism capable of converting these movements into electricity. For this, it was decided to use the piezoelectric method of electricity generation. The mechanism developed consists of a piezoelectric disc fixed between the moving part, which is the rod, and the static element, which is the fixing of the branch. Thus, electricity is generated due to the deformation of the piezoelectric disk, which occurs as a result of the oscillations of the rod attached to it.
The electrical charge is generated by the flow of the wind, or local animal activity, which creates oscillatory movements of the branch. These movements are characterized by extreme upper and lower positions of the path of movement of the branch, up to which it begins to move in the opposite direction. Then, due to the flexibility of the piezoelectric disc to which the rod is attached, the inertia occurs at the point furthest from the rod and, multiplied by the moment of force, deforms the piezoelectric disc, resulting in the appearance of an electrical charge. Finally, this charge, as it passes through the electrical circuit, stabilizes and becomes suitable for powering the electrical components.
During the development of the prototype, the electrical circuit and the field tests, the result was obtained that each cycle of the movement of the branch generates a load equal to 3.6 volts with a current of 0.1 amps and a duration of 200 milliseconds.
Altenkov proposes that the electricity generated could be used for off-grid navigation in urbanized spaces where nature has taken control. These covered and wild areas, such as poorly maintained parks, gardens and yards, could be illuminated. However, Altenkov’s prototype is not limited to navigation, since it proposes that the range of possible applications depends on the number of “anemokinetic” mechanisms. For example, various mechanisms can power the sensors creating an Internet of the Forest (IOF) for ecological monitoring of green areas, while dozens of mechanisms can create a network of small power plants.
More information: www.hse.ru