REGN is a rainfall energy harvester based on the premise of adapting upon existing building infrastructure. The module converts funneled fluid flow into electrical energy. This is achieved through its implementation as a simple connector inserted between rain gutter pipelines.
The demand for electrical energy is integral to life in the 21st century and rainfall is often an overlooked source of renewable energy due to its unpredictable nature. The problem is to conceive an integrated framework involving the efficient capture and utilisation of rainfall as a renewable energy source in a tropical urban environment. The proposed solution is to capture rainfall via a distributed network of energy-harvesting devices.
The energy-harvesting device, REGN, can be quickly and reliably deployed in a populated tropical environment. The exposed exterior of the device is specifically made from materials that provide ample shield from tropical heat and UV radiation; surfaces prone to contact with acidified fluid and moisture (due to contamination from airborne or surface pollutants) would be specified with materials inherently able or treated to resist corrosion.
REGN takes on the guise of a spigot-type insert that could easily replace any gutter pipeline connection joints. The insert generates electricity by utilising the motion of rainwater diverted from roofing structures along gutter pipelines. This is achieved via electromagnetic induction, as magnets located on a spindle within a funnel column are spun on a plane, while copper coils simultaneously lead to an external output connector.
Multiple instances of REGN could be linked to form a larger network of energy harvesting devices. Such networks could then be scaled against the actual number of occupants and deployed in appropriate amounts.This is especially useful in the case of a high-rise structure, where these modules can be staggered along vertical gutter pipelines to make use of the height advantage to achieve higher velocity flow rates.
Modules are ideally installed among gutter pipelines in dense urban settings. This is a strategic advantage as the device would be instantly co-located where there is human presence. This ensures that delivery of electrical energy generated could be quickly routed to a point of human consumption within close proximity.
Unlike conventional methods of harnessing renewable sources of energy, REGN networks do not require the additional construction of costly infrastructure or large-scale modifications to existing elements in the built environment. It is comparatively low-tech and simple.
Savannah College of Art and Design , United States
Faculty Advisor: Prof. Owen Foster
Design: Benjamin Koh