Third World Wind Power – Forget Turbines

The smartest solutions are always the simplest ones. The ones where you go ‘Doh! Why didn’t I think of that?” It’s because you weren’t looking in the right place at the right time.

Case in point is 28-year old engineer Shawn Frayne, who recently won Popular Mechanic’s 2007 Breakthrough Award. He was working in Haiti and needed a way to create wind power to small devices such as torches and radios. Small turbines weren’t an option, as they are very expensive.


You might have seen the video of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge (pictured here) violently twisting and then collapsing from a mild 40mph wind that wouldn’t even blow over your grandmother. The reason for this was what is called Aeroelastic Flutter.

So Shawn figured out if a little bit of wind could cause a massive bridge to flutter like a harmonica, he certainly could power a few radios from it.

So he built a ‘Wind Belt’ generator, it costs $2 to make using off-the-shelf materials and is 10 times more efficient than a micro wind turbine. Click here to see the video.

Now, let’s see if I can get a larger version to power my geyser…

Leave a Reply