Come On, See the Noise: Airport Noise Converted to Power

Anyone who’s been to an airport knows that airports are some of the noisiest places on Earth. The constant noise of the airplanes flying overhead, taxiing, taking off and landing can be almost deafening – but some good might one day come of it. This concept – the Green Noise converter – from designer Hung-Uei Jou would harvest noise from airports to provide the power for runway lights.

Runway lights, of course, use a large amount of electricity since they need to be left on for long periods of time. Finding an alternative source of energy to lighten the electricity load on the grid would not only save money, but help to cut down on pollution from power plants. A small change, maybe, but a positive one nonetheless. Depending on the technical aspect, it may be possible to use this type of technology in other noisy places: city centers, sporting events, or even nightclubs.

There aren’t any technical details about how the design would work, but it’s possible that the round pods on the ground would operate on piezoelectricity. When the sound waves vibrate the collection pods, the interior materials would produce small amounts of electricity. The tripod that supports the collection unit lifts it off of the ground enough to make it simple for airport techs to perform maintenance on the units and change the lights when they burn out. A screen on the side of each unit gives vital information about the unit’s status, such as how much of a charge it has remaining.

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See more in Unbuilt Concepts or under Technology. February, 2010.
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