June 22, 2011
School of Engineering, Coimbatore
The word is out, 2010 carbon emissions reached an all time high.
If we want to slow down global warming, we need to do something fast.
Responding to this urgent need, a group of Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham engineering students at the Coimbatore campus, combined innovation with ingenuity to tap into a carbon free energy resource.
The timely debut of their invention follows on the heels of a recent report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which stated that alternative resources like wind should supply nearly 80 percent of the world’s energy needs by 2050.
Offshore wind farms and large grid connected wind turbines are a few of the more common ways wind power is generated today.
However the final-year Amrita students found a new way to harness wind power by blending sophistication with practicality.
When asked, “What do you do when you need to charge your cell phone and there’s no power?” the answer, said the group of students, is blowing in the wind.
The true ingenuity of their design is that they were able to make the technology portable.
The easy-to-assemble, affordable wind turbine is made from PVC pipes that can be fixed to a rooftop to harness wind energy.
“When assembling the device two important parameters need to be considered, the chord and the twist of the turbine blade,” explained the students.
“These have to be set depending on the wind’s velocity so that the turbine can sustain the pressure,” they added.
Another necessary step is cutting the PVC pipes into blades, which is made easy because the pipes are already available in cylindrical shapes.
“The wind turbine we developed is 50cm in diameter and generates enough energy to charge a cell phone, or night lamps. Since wind energy is not continuous, one can connect a battery that gets charged over a period of time,” explained Raja Rajan Balasubramanian.
When asked what the future holds for their new creation, team member Swathi G K said, “We are hoping to make it available as a kit for users to buy and build themselves.”
The prototype cost a mere Rs 100.
The student invention is a sign of the times. Investment in clean energy resources is gaining momentum and Amrita students are helping create green options so that consumers can make sustainable choices.