Shawn Frayne's Windbelt is generating real excitement and resonance after winning Popular Mechanics' yearly Breakthrough Conference. Shawn has started up a company, Humdinger Wind, to market his device with the motto "wind energy reinvented." Now CEO, Shawn Frayne offers up some interesting "coming soon" developments. In a very (VERY) brief page, humdinger developer kits, the company promises "your very own Windbelt in a box, for schools, researchers, and independents ... Coming soon!"
To provide a little more information on the development process and motivating path:
Shawn Frayne, a member of a team from MIT and Petite Anse [Haiti] working in the area, recognized that instead of kerosene lamps, white LEDs powered by a very inexpensive wind generator might be able to better light homes and schools in the area. However, when Shawn tried to design this affordable, turbine-based wind generator, he hit a brick wall: turbine technology is too inefficient at these scales to be a viable option.
In other words, the key challenge was micro-power turbine sets. Frayne's claim is that for $1-5 the Windbelt can provide a generator that "can power two white LEDs and a radio" that "can be manufactured in Haiti." While the power for "two white LEDs" might not go too far in a McMansion, they could provide revolutionary change for places like rural Haiti households. And, well, another Humdinger motto that is one for all EcoGeeks to embrace:
"Harder problems = Better inventions"
written by Brandon Whitney, December 18, 2008
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