Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Raining Energy

PostedFebruary 24, 2013

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Anchor Lede: Raindrops hurdle to earth from great distances…and some Virginia Tech students think the energy built up along the way could be tapped.

Randy Atkins: Trees get a prolonged pelting by raindrops in a storm. So Sean Gart and some fellow Virginia Tech engineering grad students are creating artificial leaves on cantilevers.

Sean Gart: The more bending you get the more energy is generated.

Randy Atkins: …because they’re made of material that creates electric current when moved…

Sean Gart: …and it will vibrate for a certain amount of time and during this vibration is when you get electricity generation.

Randy Atkins: The leaves could be arrayed on a Christmas tree shaped structure…

Sean Gart: …so as the droplets impact they kind of cascade down the tree and optimize your energy harvest.

Randy Atkins: Amounts of energy produced are currently low…but could power small devices in remote locations where batteries are hard to change. With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.