Boeing using noise produced by an aircraft on a runway to generate electricity. The patent mentions installing multiple acoustic collectors on both sides of a runway, for this matter.
The moment we step inside a subway or a city mall, the first thing that irritates us is the noise generated by the people rushing through, trains going on, loud music, and the like. Have you ever thought this irritating noise can become the next source of renewable energy?
Well the idea is not new and researchers have been examining ways to transfer the noise into electrical energy for quite some time. But as the energy density uses to be low, they haven’t been able to find a way to capture it all.
However, this time a mind boggling idea landed on the runway of Chin H Toh’s mind, an inventor at Boeing.
He has invented a way to harness the noise emanating from an aircraft to generate electricity. His invention achieves this by installing the acoustic electricity generating system on sides of a runway.
The patent makes sense as there are airports around the world where aircraft land and take off, one after another, at every moment. This rush and the loud noises produced by these flying machines make this system perfect for these places.
A brief description of the patented technology by Boeing is provided below. In case you want to study the original patent, which you can access from here.
How Boeing’s Acoustic Electricity Generator System Works
The acoustic electricity generator of Boeing consists of four parts: acoustic wave collectors, an acoustic converter, a turbine and a generator.
An acoustic wave collector collects acoustic wave from the noise produced by aircraft on runway, and directs the collected waves to an acoustic converter.
The acoustic converter receives these waves to produces output airflow. For producing output airflow a vibrating drum is mounted within the converter assembly. The drum moves up and down when excited by the incoming acoustic waves.
As the drum vibrates, it acts as an air pump to draw the air in, and then pushes the drawn-air down to form an output air flow.
This outputted air flow is then directed to the turbine chamber where it rotates the turbine shafts. The turbine shafts, which are further coupled to the generator, in turn, make the generator to generate electricity.
The patent mentions installing multiple acoustic wave collectors mounted on both sides of a runway. These multiple collectors will generate and direct the airflow to a single turbine chamber (as shown in fig) positioned below the converters.
Such an arrangement will minimize any air flow losses between converter assembly and turbine chamber.
Though the electricity generated by the system isn’t going to be enough to cater needs of a whole airport, however, it can reduce a decent amount of electricity bill.
Moreover, the breakneck speed with which the technological advancements move nowadays, it won’t be wrong to speculate that this technology has potential to give us green airport soon in the future.
As they are trying to make flights experience more comfortable, they have found a way to reduce the noise problem inside an airplane. Boeing will be using 3D printed thermoplastic to solve the noise problem.