Did you ever imagine that energy from natural vibrations from wings of an aircraft could be harvested? Well, these Indian students did and their idea has won the finals of a global competition organised by Airbus.
A team of Indian students, spread across four countries in three continents, have won the global 30,000 euro jackpot from Airbus for creating the world’s first airplane that generates its own power by the vibration of its wings which can later be used to power in-flight systems.
Team Multifun from Delft University of Technology, Winners of Airbus Fly Your Ideas 2015 (Image credit: Airbus)
The team which includes students presently studying in Bangalore, Netherlands, US and London envisages a future when the aircraft wings can be dressed in a composite skin that harvests energy from natural vibrations or flex in the wings. “There is a natural vibration that exists in every aircraft when intend to harvest the energy from those vibrations which will be sufficient enough to power inflight operations like lighting and on board entertainment” Said Team leaderSathiskumar Anusuya Ponnusami From Delft University of Technology.
“Also we convert the body of the aircraft into a gigantic battery. On an average the plane needs to fly for about 12 hours to have enough energy. So the idea will cater to long haul flights. At present, for taxing, the airplane keeps both its main engines running which is a total waste. Instead the plane can use the energy it saved up through the vibration during flight time,” Ponnusami added. Ponnusami calls his team “Multifun” because of the varied factors that bring the team and their idea together.
The team uses piezoelectric fibres that can generate electrical charges even from the smallest movements during flight and stores the energy generated in battery panels that were integrated in the fuselage and uses it to power auxiliary in-flight systems,this could reduce the energy footprint of the aircraft while on flight and could even replace the entire power source for ground operations.
The winning idea was born in Indian Institute of Science’s NM Cad Lab of the aerospace engineering department under the mentorship of lab head Dineshkumar Harursampath. According to the Airbus and UNESCO, the competition is designed to uncover futuristic and unconventional solutions for the evolution of flight. (Via TOI)
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