Noise to power: on the way to a green airport

By | September 21, 2015

Think about all those noisy places: dance halls, construction zones, train stations, and airport runways. Noise is nothing more than a compression of air into short bursts, which, even if minute, still contain energy. And loudspeakers create music much along the same lines, by vibrating a surface in order to cause the air to vibrate.

So how about collecting noise and turning it into energy? Well, until now, this has not been very efficient – the output energy has not exceeded input energy. It looks like this invention has changed that, and is able to generate electricity by collecting the airport noise and wind from planes leaving the runway.

While this system certainly can't power an airport, it does go some way to reducing energy bills, and perhaps can also trigger some ideas on how to generate electricity from other noisy environments as well.

/via +Nitin Balodi

Boeing Files Patent to Generate Electricity from Airport Noise
Boeing files patent for an acoustical electricity generation system for generating electricity from the airport noise.

6 thoughts on “Noise to power: on the way to a green airport

  1. Frank Nestel

    +Drew Davis of course! But when you consider plane noise as input and can for example actually also convert some random other traffic noise, the output could exceed the so called input in that sense.

    Edit: What I really wonder is, when the collect that noise and convert it to useable energy, shouldn't it become somewhat calmer on the airport?

  2. John Bump

    There are a fairly large number of waste heat converters out there. The problem usually is an entirely different one: that there is so little energy in the waste energy stream, that it takes more energy to build the converter than it will ever recover during its working lifetime. So even though it's capturing free energy, it's still expensive energy.

  3. Abhilash R

    I think input energy here refers to the energy needed to run the thing that harnesses the energy from the noise, not the energy from the noise itself (the output energy certainly shouldn't exceed the energy in the noise/wind).

  4. Sophie Wrobel

    +Drew Davis Output energy can't exceed input energy in a closed system. But output energy can exceed input energy in a system that is not closed (e.g. one that is connected to the main power grid).


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