Unused energy trapped within bridges is to be harvested in a major new international project led by Heriot-Watt University.
Traffic and wind regularly cause low frequency vibrations to ripple through bridge building materials such as steel and concrete. This energy would normally travel away from its source before dissipating but academics at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh alongside colleagues from Georgia State University and Georgia Tech in the US, have recognised an opportunity. They intend to capture and recycle this untapped source by using the principles of physics.
They have received £340,000 from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), and $443,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to research and develop a revolutionary vibro-impact energy harvesting device.
Dr. Daniil Yurchenko from the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences at Heriot-Watt University, has created a prototype called a ‘vibrant pack energy harvester’ that can be fitted at multiple locations on a bridge.
Dr. Yurchenko explains that while dielectric elastomer technology has been tried in wave energy, nothing has been done on this centimetre scale before.
“What we are doing is creating a more efficient and cost-effective solution by harvesting energy that would otherwise be lost,” he said.
Read the full article here.