A UK company developing a device designed to generate electricity from any form of movement has launched a crowdfunding effort to help finance its production.
The WITT, or Whatever Input to Torsion Transfer device (The Engineer, January 2014), being developed by Plymouth-based WITT Energy, uses two pendulums connected to a flywheel to generate electricity from movement in any direction.
This means it is capable of generating electricity from sea, river, tidal, or wind energy, as well as human or animal motion, according to Mairi Wickett, chief executive officer and co-founder of WITT.
“It is based on a transmission that has two pendulums underneath, and it will harvest all movement, whether it is clockwise, anti-clockwise, up and down, or back and forth, and turn it into electricity,” she said.
The principle behind the technology is similar to that of the self-winding watch, in which a rotor on a pivot generates energy from the movement of its wearer.
Motion in any direction causes the two pendulums in the WITT to swing. The pendulums are attached to a shaft which then turns a flywheel in one direction. The flywheel is in turn connected to a generator, which produces electricity.
The company is working on a 200W marine version of the technology, in collaboration with Gibbs Gears and Schaeffler. To this end it has launched a £750,000 equity raise through crowdfunding platform Crowdcube.
The companies are building a marine energy device, which will be fitted into a 1.5m sealed sphere and tested in a wave tank in July, said Wickett. “[The marine WITT] is a completely sealed unit and it can be built from the size of a grapefruit, to collect about 5W of power, to as large as you want,” she said.
The marine energy device could provide power for applications such as large-scale survival units, desalination, and offshore fish farms, the company said.
The company, which has patented the technology, is also working with automotive technology specialist Ricardo, and has support from Bristol, Plymouth and Southampton Universities.
As well as large-scale renewable energy applications, smaller versions of the technology could ultimately be fitted to soldiers’ or explorers’ backpacks, for example, to generate energy to power their portable equipment as they march or climb.