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United States: Engineering and technology students create renewable energy device, to be installed on campus by end of April

Published at: Apr 2, 2013
source: Central Michigan Life
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Central Michigan University engineering and technology students are building an energy-harvesting device that will be used to power a temperature display in front of the Engineering and Technology Building.  The device, which contains a material that generates energy when pressed, will produce electricity from the vibrations created by pedestrian’s footsteps as they walk in and out of the building.

Central Michigan University engineering and technology students are building an energy-harvesting device that will be used to power a temperature display in front of the Engineering and Technology Building.

The device, which contains a material that generates energy when pressed, will produce electricity from the vibrations created by pedestrian’s footsteps as they walk in and out of the building.

“There is a material that can generate energy when it is pressed. We are putting this material under the entrance grates to the engineering building, so when someone walks on the grates, the energy is collected,” Associate Professor of Engineering and Technology Tolga Kaya said. “The energy is going to be very small, but it will be able to charge three triple-A batteries. We will use these batteries as a source of energy that will not require any outlets or non-renewable forms of energy.”

Kaya and four students started the project in the fall as part of a senior capstone project, and the device could be installed by the end of the month. Kaya said the entire project has cost around $1,500, which includes the price of the materials, supplies and everything used in the project’s preliminary trials.

When the device is installed, it will be the first of its kind at CMU.

“This has not been done at CMU before,” Kaya said. “There are some projects with similar applications throughout the United States trying to generate renewable energy sources, but I believe this is a one-of-a-kind application of this technology to create a completely sustainable system.”

Kaya said the students who are participating in the project have gained valuable knowledge through their involvement.

“(The project) has been very rewarding for students. We have four students working on this project, and they have been very excited about it,” he said. “They have been able to apply all of their knowledge from their undergraduate careers to this project and have been able to create a completely sustainable energy system. It has been a great experience for them.”

Now that the first device is planned to be installed, Kaya is already looking to continue to improve the design.

“I am hoping to continue this project next year from a different prospective so we can make these devices better,” he said. “Hopefully, we can create larger scale systems in the future.”

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