Integration of aero-elastic belt into the built environment for low-energy wind harnessing: current status and a case study

Angelo I. Aquino, John Kaiser Calautit, Ben Richard Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
27 Downloads (Pure)


Low-powered devices are ubiquitous in this modern age especially their application in the urban and built environment. The myriad of low-energy applications extend from wireless sensors, data loggers, transmitters and other small-scale electronics. These devices which operate in the microWatt to milliWatt power range and will play a significant role in the future of smart cities providing power for extended operation with little or no battery dependence. Low energy harvesters such as the aero-elastic belt are suitable for integration with wireless sensors and other small-scale electronic devices and therefore there is a need for studying its optimal installation conditions. In this work, a case study presenting the Computational Fluid Dynamics modelling of a building integrated with aero-elastic belts (electromagnetic transduction type) was presented. The simulation used a gable-roof type building model with a 27° pitch obtained from the literature. The atmospheric boundary layer flow was employed for the simulation of the incident wind. The work investigates the effect of various wind speeds and aero-elastic belt locations on the performance of the device giving insight on the potential for integration of the harvester into the built environment. The apex of the roof of the building yielded the highest power output for the aero-elastic belt due to flow speed-up maximisation in this region. This location produced the largest power output under the 45° angle of approach, generating an estimated 62.4 mW of power under accelerated wind in belt position of up to 6.2 m/s. For wind velocity of 10 m/s, wind in this position accelerated up to approximately 14.4 m/s which is a 37.5% speed-up at the particular height. This occurred for an oncoming wind 30° relative to the building facade. For velocity equal to 4.7 m/s under 0° wind direction, airflows in facade edges were the fastest at 5.4 m/s indicating a 15% speed-up along the edges of the building.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)830-850
Number of pages21
JournalEnergy Conversion and Management
Early online date23 Mar 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017


  • aero-elastic belt
  • aero-elastic flutter
  • buildings
  • computational fluid dynamics (CFD)
  • energy
  • simulation


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