Moya Power: A New Way of Generating Light from Wind

Moya Power is a semi-transparent material innovation that harvests small amounts of wind to create energy. Low-cost and highly flexible, it can be applied to buildings, windows or bridges, for example, and can harvest energy without the need for expensive infrastructure or land.

Inspired by the challenge of finding new solutions for the rolling blackouts that affect many countries, including her native South Africa, Charlotte Slingsby developed Moya at the Royal College of Art and Imperial College of London. The systems is comprised of flexible, thin sheets of polyvinylidene fluoride with bendy, plastic-encased filaments that are moved by passing air. The filaments generate energy via the piezoelectric effect, which refers to the ability of certain materials to generate a charge in response to pressure. In this case, when the filaments move in the wind, they create tiny amount of energy. The energy is passed onto a capacitor – a device used to store electrical charges – and then onward to a battery where the energy is stored.

Over a large area, these small amounts of energy join together into a large quantity of energy…..similar to the effect of many tiny raindrops eventually forming a stream or body of water.

In comparison with other systems like solar panels, Singsby calculates that Moya can only generate about 10% of the the energy per square meter. But because the only requirement to generate electricity is a breeze, the innovation could be installed anywhere from a building facade, to the underside of a bridge, to the inside of the London underground!