New and improved door generator prototype

10Mar10

It has been too long since my last post, but many exciting things have happened since – most of which is in collaboration with GRouND LAB.

To follow-up on the  topic of energy conversion and storage from human-powered kinetic sources I have rebuilt a new prototype for the inDoor Energy Harvester that has proven thus far to surpass our expectations and can now easily be customizable for revolving as well as traditional hinged doors.
Each generator is about 3″x3″x3″ and consist of a bipolar motor/generator attached to a planetary 10:1 gearbox.  It outputs on average 25volts at just above 1/4amp and can reach 100volts at 1/2amp.
This means that on the low-end one small generator outputs 5watts and can reach 50watts.
Thus, if we install 4 generators per leaf of a revolving door that turns for about 8 hours per day ->
one door can on average produce 20watts per leaf, 80 watts per door over 8 hours = 640watt hrs
This is enough to run a 60 watt light bulb for about 11 hrs (we use the light bulb purely as an indicator rather than a practical application).
With the energy harvesting modules attached to the existing doors, we would simply need to release some of the tension on the doors braking mechanism for the door to feel exactly the same, thereby channeling some of the kinetic energy that would have been wasted as friction and heat on a brake to usable electricity.

generator prototype

generator prototype

In addition we have developed a monitoring and visualization system of the doors for the building managers, the people walking through, as well as ourselves to quickly understand what is being produced over a given time period.  We have a system in place to monitor, store and graph the data in real-time from the web as well as from a mobile phone.

More importantly, something that we are working on is a visualization for the lobby that would provide quick and comprehensible feed back as to their individual contribution as well as a sign that their building is going ‘green’.  These buildings are investing a lot of money in an effort to reach LEED certification, but much of the work is out of sight of most of the buildings occupants.
We propose, to begin with, having the energy generated from the doors power the energy monitoring and visualization systems to create a zero carbon system as a proof of concept until we have a good idea of what is being created and stored over time.  After a month or so of testing we would more accurately be able to suggest effective applications for the building.
We are currently talking to a few people who are interested in allowing us to install and test these add-on modules to their doors in Manhattan whose buildings are also located above subway exists, thus their doors are almost constantly moving through out the day.  Any and all suggestions for testing sites will be appreciated. 

I am confident that with a little more time and incentive we can increase the efficiency and output of our current generators and provide a working prototype relatively quickly.

I will be posting a 3d fly through rendering soon to show in detail how we propose attaching these modules to existing doors without removing or changing the current doors architecture.

till then…

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2 Responses to “New and improved door generator prototype”

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