Wind turbine mimics the beating of a bird's wings

Written by: Laura Hopperton | Published:

The latest innovation to come out of Festo's Bionic Learning Network is a wind turbine that mimics the natural beating of a bird's wings.

Unlike birds, which flap their wings to propel them forward, the DualWingGenerator system is comprised of a vertical column supporting a bottom and top pair of carbon 'wings' that move in opposing directions.

The wings are fitted to separate sliders and then driven up and down as the air flows across them.

The bottom wings move upwards when the top ones move downwards, and vice versa. This motion is then converted into rotary movement inside the column using two timing belts and two free wheels.

The rotary force is then transferred to an electricity generator, which converts the kinetic energy into electricity.

The self-optimising system relies on advanced control technology to adapt to different wind conditions, adjusting itself at right angles to the wind direction.

In order to produce as much energy as possible, the device has to co-ordinate six key parameters to the respective wind speed: The flapping frequency of the wings; the amplitude of the wing beat; the angle of incidence in the wing roots; the time for triggering the rotation; the setting speed of the wing rotation; and the stiffness of the preloaded springs.

Festo believes the DualWingGenerator system could be installed on buildings in the same way solar cells are fitted to rooftops to generate clean energy.

It could also be used as a compressor for generating compressed air, it says, or as a water pump for use in process automation.

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