As demand for electricity is peaking, the energy harvesting market is also seeing high levels of growth. Access to electricity from reliable sources are paramount, especially for countries vulnerable to climate change driven by natural disasters. Electricity supply from sunlight, wind, and coal plants may be unavailable in emergency situations. In a non-emergency situation, the prospect of rising sea level and human population also makes land-based electricity unfavorable. FullCircle joins the research effort into developing future piezoelectric and triboelectric tidal energy harvester. Bending of the material is the primary mechanism for generating piezoelectricity. Piezo- and triboelectric materials are, individually, energy harvesting mechanisms, and in our design, they are combined to maximize energy production. Both small and large-scale designs are possible so electricity may be accessible in a variety of environments. Piezo- and triboelectric materials are also superior in that maintenance is less intensive than that of electromagnetic and electrostatic energy harvesting devices currently employed. Biomimicry helps to optimize piezoelectricity through selection of design parameter that best captures tidal energy based on formations of schools of fish and the mechanisms of the heart valve, kelp, and jellyfish. Fish move in undulatory motion so as to minimize net transportation cost. We extrapolated this to the project by determining the placement of the bluff bodies in relation to one another. The ruffled edges of kelp skirt help it to maximize photosynthesis production. The flimsy ends of the skirt open, lifting and expanding the inside. Heart valves work to move liquid unidirectionally to prevent backflow. These two mechanisms were applied to the construction of the flags themselves to create increased movement and, therefore, increased energy production. The bending motion of the bluff body was inspired by jellyfish movement. Jellyfishs flexible muscles bend inward to create vortex. The production of the vortices were implemented into the design also to maximize movement.
Heyinn Rho, Ananya Jain, Muhammad Anmbus Iqbal, Sara Thomas Mathew, Kenji Bomar, Savannah Berry, José Andrade