A study on the Wind-Induced Flutter Energy Harvester (WIFEH) integration into buildings

Aquino, Angelo I. and Calautit, John Kaiser and Hughes, Ben Richard (2017) A study on the Wind-Induced Flutter Energy Harvester (WIFEH) integration into buildings. Energy Procedia, 142. pp. 321-327. ISSN 1876-6102 (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.egypro.2017.12.051)

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In this modern age, low-energy devices are pervasive especially when considering their applications in the built-environment. This study investigates the potential building integration and energy harnessing capabilities of the Wind-Induced Flutter Energy Harvester (WIFEH)-a microgenerator intended to provide energy for low-powered applications. The work presents the experimental investigation of the WIFEH inside a wind tunnel and a case study using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modelling of a building integrated with a WIFEH system. The experiments examined the WIFEH under various wind tunnel wind speeds varying between 2.3 up to 10 m/s in order to gauge the induced voltage generation capability of the device. The WIFEH was able to generate an RMS voltage of 3 V, peak-to-peak voltage of 8.72 V and short-circuit current of 1 mA when subjected to airflow of 2.3 m/s. With an increase of wind velocity to 5 m/s and subsequent membrane retensioning, the RMS and peak-to-peak voltages and short-circuit current also increase to 4.88 V, 18.2 V, and 3.75 mA, respectively. The simulation used a gable-roof type building model with a 27° pitch obtained from the literature. For the CFD modelling integrating the WIFEH into a building, the apex of the roof of the building yielded the highest power output for the device due to flow speed-up maximisation in this region. This location produced the largest power output under the 45° angle of approach, generating an estimated 62.4 mW of power under accelerated wind in device position of up to 6.2 m/s. The method and results presented in this work could be useful for the further investigation of the integration of the WIFEH in the urban environment.