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Piezo-Grass (TM)

It's good for the tree, it's good for the grass.
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How about creating strips of giant grass blades that are made of piezo materials and are crafted in such a way as to cause harmonic vibrations. Like the reed in a wood-wind, this Piezo-Grass would osilate at a certain frequency when wind blew across them.

All you would need to do is rectify the electricity and smooth out the spikes with some capacitors, then use it to either charge a battery, or better yet, break down water into oxygen and hydrogen for use later on in a fuel cell.

You could encrease the output capabilities by having a flexible photo-voltaic cell attached, but it currently takes more energy to create a PV-cell than it will ever create in it's lifetime.

Why use hydrogen to store the energy? Well, peizos put out high voltages but would be un-predictable outputs would occur. Breaking down water instead of charging a battery is more desireable because there is no heavy metals, and you can break down as little or as much water at a time you wish. Current spikes would not blow the system up, it would just make more hydrogen.

How effecient? I don't know. I haven't tested it out yet.

Slashdot has an article about a guy using vibrations to collect energy for remote sensors. I think he's using piezos. So aparently it can be done. The questions is, do we really want to see giant plastic grass?

mlfnet, Apr 25 2003

Previously on HB: "Piezoelectric Trees" http://www.halfbake...ezoelectric_20Trees
Similar proposal only at once both more arboreal and surreal. [bristolz, Oct 04 2004]

Can Solar Cells Ever Recapture the Energy Invested in their Manufacture? http://www.ecotopia...ollo2/pvpayback.htm
Short answer : yes. [Loris, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Hmm... looks familiar... http://www.gatech.e.../release.php?id=932
If this keeps up, we're gonna have to retire. [moomintroll, Aug 09 2006]

[link]






       A field (or roof, so we don't have to mess with any real grass) of micro-generators is an interesting idea.   

       But lumping together GM, fuel cells and piezoelectricity into one idea is some kind of hand-waving techno-magic HB record. Can't we just have a large field of small piezo-electric generators wired together the old-fashioned way?
DrCurry, Apr 25 2003
  

       And in my landmark first post, moving from lurker to productive member...   

       I've worked with piezo sheets a little bit, primarily in coupled reflexive motion damping, and I think that this could be a wonderfully fun idea to implement. In fact, I'm thinking about building it right now. Thinking right now, not building. Anyway, croissant.
thedick, Apr 26 2003
  

       Originally I though that just making a tree out of peizos backed by solar cells would be cool, but then I learned that it takes more energy to make a solar cell than it'll ever generate... total waste those solar cells are...
mlfnet, Apr 30 2003
  

       Is that true about solar cells?   

       Why would anyone bother with them then?   

       (edit) apparently that isn't true anyway. See link.
Loris, Dec 15 2003
  

       Wind speed tends towards zero at the group. There's very little energy in the grass.
willard_b_trophy, Mar 14 2004
  

       Hey, I really like this Idea, I came up with a similar one idependently a while ago. It is possible with developing piezo electric fiber technology. If anyone is still interested check out: www.advancedcerametrics.com They seem to be a good cutting edge company to work with. I can immagine Piezo Grass on top of buildings and even on the sides of buildings, where a wind turbine wouldn't work or where it would be unacceptable to most people. SHAGG ME! It would be GROOVEY BABY! Also, Piezo Grass would work in any fluid current, so it could be placed under water. This would be great from an environmental staindpoint, because it would allow us to produce hydro electricity without the ecologically devistating effects of Damnation. Also ocean currents. If anyone wants to work on it let me know! fity0401@stcloudstate.edu
fity, Dec 21 2004
  

       With apologies to Pink Floyd:   

       The lunatic is building grass
The lunatic is building grass
Batteries grown and hydrogen as gas
Got to fuel the lorries on the path....
  

       The lunatic is on my roof
The lunatics are on my roof
Capacitors to save the system from itself
And every day, they eschew solar cells
  

       And if the grass blades power up a little soon
And if there is no battery to fill
And if the hydrogen has no place to go to
It'll blow you to the dark side of the moon...
  

       EDIT Sunuvabiatch! Stupid linebreaks.
shapu, Dec 21 2004
  

       Well, it would look kind of cool. For added benefit, coat each "blade" in solar cells to catch the sunlight.
5th Earth, Dec 21 2004
  

       We're really not that far ahead of the game, here {linky}
moomintroll, Aug 09 2006
  

       //but it currently takes more energy to create a PV-cell than it will ever create in it's lifetime//   

       That statement has been false since about 1970.   

       While it is true that the most efficient solar panels, used by NASA on their space vehicles req
ye_river_xiv, May 01 2007
  

       //but it currently takes more energy to create a PV-cell than it will ever create in it's lifetime//   

       That statement has been false since about 1970.   

       While it is true that the most efficient solar panels, used by NASA on their space vehicles require more energy to produce than they would make in their lifetime, those panels are designed to survive, on average, for less than 20 years. Their efficiency is 30-35%, and they take about 10 times as much energy to produce as a standard solar panel, because they have three different layers of power collecting material.   

       Standard solar panels have an efficiency of 2-25%, but since they only need one layer of material to produce electricity, they are much easier to produce. For a home, you can reach the economical break even point in less than 20 years. For a business, break even is usually achieved in 10-15 years. There are in fact solar powered solar panel factories in some places.
ye_river_xiv, May 01 2007
  

       // For a home, you can reach the economical break even point in less than 20 years. For a business, break even is usually achieved in 10-15 years.// I've often wondered about this. Does anyone know what proportion of solar cells are actually still in use 10 years after installation?
MaxwellBuchanan, May 01 2007
  
      
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