New Anemometer for Sustainable Weather Monitoring

In a recent study published in the journal Microsystems & Nanoengineering, researchers from the Beijing Institute of Nanoenergy and Nanosystems developed a Breeze Wake-Up Anemometer (B-WA) that offers a low-energy environmental monitoring method using a Rolling-Bearing Triboelectric Nanogenerator (RB-TENG). This device functions independently and effectively in various wind conditions with sustainable environmental monitoring.

Self-Waking Anemometer for Sustainable Weather Monitoring

Overview of the breeze-awaken anemometer (B-WA) and the rolling-bearing triboelectric nanogenerator (RB-TENG). Composition and workflow diagrams of the B-WA. The B-WA consists of two RB-TENGs, an SWM, an SPM, and a wireless transmitter. b Structural diagram of the RB-TENG. c SEM images showing the morphology of the copper electrode and the outer ring. d Working principle of the RB-TENG. e Output UOC of the RB-TENG under various driving wind speeds. f Output /SC of the RB-TENG under various driving wind speeds. g Instantaneous power output of the RB-TENG under various driving wind speeds. Image Credit: Microsystems & Nanoengineering

Anemometers are vital when it comes to gathering meteorological data, which is necessary for precise weather prediction and environmental observation. However, due to their heavy reliance on battery power and high quiescent power consumption, traditional anemometers frequently suffer from issues related to expensive maintenance and operating expenses.

These difficulties are especially severe in isolated areas where it is costly and difficult to replace batteries or fix equipment. Low-power self-waking-up anemometers have the potential to revolutionize environmental monitoring by improving data collecting reliability in these vital but challenging-to-reach places, allowing for longer deployment periods, and lowering the frequency of maintenance.

To this end, the Chinese research team created the Breeze Wake-up Anemometer (B-WA), which is intended to significantly improve the capabilities of remote weather monitoring.

The recently created B-WA incorporates the following: a Self-Waking-Up Module (SWM), a Signal Processing Module (SPM), and two rolling-bearing triboelectric nanogenerators (RB-TENGs).

B-WA can operate in a low-energy quiescent mode until wind speeds exceed 2 m/second, consuming minimal power. The RB-TENG is engineered to generate electricity through the rolling motion of its bearings, which powers the device's transition from a low-power state. Additionally, the SWM facilitates real-time wind speed measurements by fully activating the system within just 0.96 seconds of being triggered.

To precisely and reliably gather data, the SPM concurrently processes the frequency of the signals provided by the RB-TENG to monitor wind speed with a sensitivity of 9.45 Hz/(m/second).

This device not only pushes the boundaries of nanotechnology but also offers a sustainable solution to global weather monitoring challenges. Its low energy requirement and high sensitivity are crucial for the future of environmental sensing.

Chi Zhang, Professor, Beijing Institute of Nanoenergy and Nanosystems

This technology is essential for fields where fast and precise weather information can greatly influence operational safety and decision-making, such as agricultural planning and the prevention of natural disasters. Due to its durable nature and low-maintenance architecture, the B-WA is perfect for Internet of Things (IoT) network integration, improving distributed environmental monitoring in a variety of industries.

The research was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the Beijing Natural Science Foundation.

Journal reference:

Fu, X., et al. (2024) A near-zero quiescent power breeze wake-up anemometer based on a rolling-bearing triboelectric nanogenerator. Microsystems & Nanoengineering.

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