non-rotative wind generator takes on turbine wind generators’ efficiency

October 15, 2007 § 7 Comments

windbelt generator close-up

Windbelt, membrane wind generator by Shawn Frayne

Shawn Frayne, a 28-year-old inventor based in Mountain View, Calif., saw the need for small-scale wind power to juice LED lamps and radios in the homes of the poor. Usual wind turbines don’t scale down well – there’s too much friction in the gearbox and other components.

His device, which he calls a Windbelt, is a taut membrane fitted with a pair of magnets that oscillate between metal coils. Prototypes have generated 40 milliwatts in 10-mph slivers of wind, making his device 10 to 30 times as efficient as the best microturbines. Frayne envisions the Windbelt only costing a few dollars

In a conventional wind generator, gears help transfer the motion of the spinning blades to a turbine where an electric current is induced. The Windbelt is simpler and more efficient in light breezes—a magnet mounted on a vibrating membrane simply oscillates between wire coils.

Click the image below for a clip.

windbelt generator

Windbelt, membrane wind generator by Shawn Frayne

[Update 2013]

In an experiment to optimize the efficiency of the original Windbelt, Amity Sci Research have build a solution that produces approximately six times as much electrical power as the original Windbelt. This new configuration utilizes thicker magnets, more coil generators, and a more elastic film than the original design. These results establish the Windbelt as a compelling replacement to small wind turbines and other renewable energy sources.


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§ 7 Responses to non-rotative wind generator takes on turbine wind generators’ efficiency

  • I hope we see this developed or if not some good plans so that the less techi of us can make them for ourselves…

  • Garbage Inventors says:

    10x to 30x – right. Conventional wind turbines capture about 60% (average) the the Betz efficiency. How do you get 10x to 30x that?

  • realthor says:

    They perhaps compared it to wind turbines the same scale or so i suppose. The invention even got the “Popular Mechanics 2007 Breakthrough Award”. I can’t wait for other news about it…like a large scale generator…or smth.

  • rick says:

    i tried the thing, using a mylar belt, it worked with one drawback- with wind, inertia helps keep the rotor turning, with this unit if the wind fluctuates signifigantly, your voltage will fluctuate unless you use a good regulator. caps worked to smooth this out somewhat, 220uf on each coil. i got around 5 volts typ with factory wound coils 300 turns 30 ga salvaged off some circut boards. if i find another two coils i’m gonna try installing them on the other end and see if i can boost voltage.

    this is something that is worth looking at for future use.

    ps: there is a slight buzzing noise from the film but not enough to keep the neighbours up

    • realthor says:

      Sorry for not replying for this ling time, I am really impressed someone tried it (i am so lazy and suck at electric stuff) and glad it worked. Can you give me some numbers like size of the thing vs wattage output as well as any other iterations of your device? Also consider contributing to my new DIY page.
      Best regards.

  • Really, really good information. Thanks for your insight into this difficult subject. I’ve signed up for your feed and looking forward to the next update. Thank You

  • […] 11, 2010 I wrote about this invention featured as one of the 2007 Popular Mechanics’ Breakthrough Awards winners but never heard […]

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