Crossrail will generate electricity using the wind created by trains

Feb 19, 2018 ·

Screen shot 2018 02 19 at 09.41.54

A pilot project will use grids of lamellae-covered plastic sheets on London's Crossrail to generate electricity from draughty tunnels.

Charlotte Slingsby and her startup Moya Power are researching piezo-electric textiles that gain energy from movement. It seems logical that Slingsby originally came from a city with a reputation for being windy: "In Cape Town, wind is an energy source that you cannot ignore," says the 27-year-old, who now lives in London.

Thanks to her home city, she also knows about power failures. That’s why she came up with the idea of not only harnessing wind as an alternative energy source by setting up wind farms in the countryside or at sea, but also for capturing it in cities using existing infrastructure.

For a pilot project, she has already installed grids of lamellae-covered plastic sheets in tunnels on London Crossrail routes; the draft in the tube causes the protrusions to flutter, which then generates electricity.

"If we all live in cities that need electricity, we need to look for new, creative ways to generate it," says Slingsby, who studied design and engineering at Imperial College and the Royal College of Art. "I wanted to create something that works in different situations and that can be flexibly adapted, whether you live in an urban hut or a high-rise."

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