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One of the problems with traditional turbine generators is that they are only really efficient and cost-effective at large scales. They may be great for feeding the grid, but an efficient, cheap, and portable device to power your cell phone or charge a radio a wind turbine will never be. Shawn Frayne’s invention, the Windbelt, does not have this problem, and its mechanical simplicity makes you smack your head and wonder why this hadn’t been thought of before.

There’s no gearbox — just a thin belt strip stretched taught with a button magnet at one end. When the wind blows, the belt begins to oscillate, moving the magnet in and out of a coil to generate an AC current.

Shawn’s Windbelt was one of the award winners in Popular Mechanics’ 2007 Breakthrough Awards. They have a video of him discussing his invention and using the prototype and a few dollars worth of electronics to power some LEDs and a clock. He hopes that cheap Windbelt-powered LED lighting will eventually be able to provide an environmentally sound and easily serviceable home-lighting alternative in developing nations. It’s such a brilliantly simple design. You can probably build one yourself before the weekend is through.

Windbelt, Cheap Generator Alternative, Set to Power Third World – Link

3 Responses to Windbelt: elegant non-turbine wind generator

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  1. Hey, I live out here in Oklahoma where ” the wind goes whistling down the plains ” Who’s going to take this on and make it available to the general public? Can those of us who are handy make one ourselves? Are there plans? This is awesome!

  2. What would happen if you placed hundreds of wind
    belts on the top of a moving vehicle?
    Say a 18 wheeler going down the highway. They
    could also supply some power to the trucks at
    night to help lower fuel consumption.

    How about putting these on the solar powered
    highway signs to help generate power at night. It
    seems that the wind picks up at night.

    Great idea, thank you for helping the world.

  3. Steven N on said:

    can we get some specs? or a diy guide? they look too simple to still be using coal power

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