The U.S. military has rolled out a portable wind power system, dubbed "Flutter Mallard," capable of generating power even under the condition of breeze, with significant potential for application in remote rural areas or battlefield.
The product is dwarfed by mainstream three-blade wind turbines, which tower at 90 or even over 100 meters in height, in order to catch strong wind in the sky but as such cannot function on less windy days.
Inspired by venetian blind, the USACE (United States Army Corps of Engineers) developed and debuted Flutter Mallard in 2014, for which it obtained patent right recently. The device consists of eight elastic membranes which are attached to a PVC tube and is capable of generating power with wind reaching only 14 kilometers/hour (around 3.4-5.4 meters/second) in velocity. When in operation, the membranes of the device would flutter constantly, causing copper induction coil in PVC tube below to move back and forth inside a magnetic duct and thereby generating power. An "introductory wing" is attached to the front of the device, to channel and concentrate wind onto membranes, greatly boosting efficiency.
The new wind turbine boasts a modularized design, with a changeable size to meet specific needs, and is harmless to birds or bats, due to the absence of rotating blades.
With specifications of the device yet to be publicized fully, its commercialization value, in terms of production cost and power output, remains to be seen.
(Collaborative media: TechNews, first photo: TechLink)