Boeing files patent to convert airplane noise into electricity

Boeing has recently filed a patent to convert the noise generated by aircraft during takeoffs and landings at airports into electricity. Commercial aircraft jet engines produce noise at around 140 decibels, not to mention the noise of the wheels during landing, the wind being cut by the wings, etc. Chin Toh, a company employee, decided to develop a method to harvest electricity from all this “wasted” acoustic energy.

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By installing a number of “acoustic wave collectors” along the edge of the runways, the noise generated by the airplanes would become a source of energy, which would then be used to power some of the airport systems. According to the engineer, all the aircraft noise is dissipated, representing a lost energy source that could have been put to use a long time ago.

The vibrational energy of sound waves would be converted into an airflow boost to a turbine, thereby generating electricity. A substation would collect this energy and then distribute it to the appropriate sectors. However, this system developed by Toh still might not generate enough electricity to justify it’s implementation since the amount of energy harvested from noise is not that much.


[Image source: USPTO]

Therefore, until the technology that converts sound into energy gets improved dramatically, this Boeing patent might just stay on hold for a little longer. But nothing stops this from happening in the future, when all that airport noise pollution will actually be justified.

Source: US Patent and Trademark Office