A Practical Approach To Harnessing Small Scale Wind Energy Through Piezoelectric Wind Harvesting

Niall Magee, Purdue University


Energy demand in remote areas and military applications has created the need for the development of innovative energy harvesting devices including solar cells, diesel generators and human powered generators. The demand for electricity has continued to rise with increasingly sophisticated equipment. Given that the conditions for harnessing energy from varying renewable resources cannot be guaranteed year round there is a need to invest in a diverse range of energy harvesting technologies. A range of current renewable technologies was explored and an alternative to solar or traditional wind turbine generators was selected. By leveraging the effects of aeroelasticity a piezoelectric energy wind harvester was designed based upon the data collected during the literature review and manufactures’ data. The initial device design was tested in a wind tunnel at a range of wind speeds from 0m/s to 20m/s with several variables tested including, flap position, weight of flap and angle of attack. The results from the first round of testing led to a redesign of the device where the charging rate was increased by 6350%. The results showed that the device would charge a battery under the given conditions; however, the length of time taken to charge the batteries would be excessively long, making it impractical for the given scenario. Suggested further research would include comparing the energy harvested by a traditional wind energy harvester of the same size in order to compare efficiencies as well as looking at the effects of multiple aeroelastic energy harvesters in varying formations to replicate the leaves on a tree.




Dyrenfurth, Purdue University.

Subject Area


Off-Campus Purdue Users:
To access this dissertation, please log in to our
proxy server