An experimental and computational study on inverted flag dynamics for simultaneous wind-solar energy harvesting

Andrea Cioncolini*, Mostafa R.A. Nabawy, Jorge Silva-Leon, Joseph O'Connor, Alistair Revell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


This paper presents results from experiments and simplified numerical simulations on the flow-induced dynamics and power generation of inverted flags that combine flexible piezoelectric strips with photovoltaic cells to simultaneously harvest kinetic wind energy and solar radiant energy. Experiments were conducted in a wind tunnel under controlled wind excitation and light exposure, focusing in particular on the dynamics and power generation of the inverted flag harvester. Numerical simulations were carried out using a lattice-Boltzmann fluid solver coupled with a finite element structural solver via the immersed-boundary method, focusing in particular on minimizing the simulation run time. The power generated during the tests shows that the proposed inverted flag harvester is a promising concept, capable of producing enough power (on the order of 1 mW) to supply low-power electronic devices in a range of applications where distributed power generation is needed. Notwithstanding key simplifications implemented in the numerical model to achieve a fast execution, simulations and measurements are in good agreement, confirming that the lattice-Boltzmann method is a viable and time-effective alternative to classic Navier-Stokes-based solvers when dealing with strongly coupled fluid-structure interaction problems characterized by large structural displacements.

Original languageEnglish
Article number87
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Energy harvesting
  • Experiment
  • Flexible structure
  • Fluid-structure interaction
  • Inverted flag
  • Lattice Boltzmann
  • Simulation
  • Solar energy
  • Wind energy


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