We can harness the power of wind in a field or on the ocean – but what about in drafty train tunnels? 27-year-old Charlotte Slingsby’s startup Moya Power seeks to generate electricity by capturing wind in existing infrastructure, Wired reported. The company employs a lightweight sheeting material to harvest low grade wind power. They have a pilot project underway on the London Crossrail.
Slingsby pioneered Moya Power as part of an Innovation Design Engineering master’s program at Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art (RCA); the description on RCA’s website describes Moya as a building material able to harvest wind energy in a variety of locations, like bridges or building facades. The statement on the project said, “The printed, semi-transparent sheets are light, low cost, versatile, and scalable.”
Wired described Moya as lamellae-covered plastic sheets. Moya Power’s website said the energy harvesting material “is designed to scavenge-off low grade wind energy, which is abundantly found against existing infrastructure. This involves vibrations and low speed, turbulent winds generating power 24 hours a day, which can be mounted on otherwise unused surfaces, hidden from public view.”
One of those areas is the London Crossrail. The Moya material has been installed in tunnels, where wind from trains causes protrusions on the sheeting to move to generate electricity. According to Wired, the system is able to generate 10 percent of the power per square meter a solar panel can. Slingsby sees her product as one piece of a future mixture of urban power sources.
She told Wired, “If we all live in cities that need electricity, we need to look for new, creative ways to generate it. I wanted to create something that works in different situations and that can be flexibly adapted, whether you live in an urban hut or a high-rise.”