Boeing has filed a patent that entails the conversion of noise being generated by aircraft during landings and takeoffs into electricity. Commercial aircraft jet engines create noise at 140db and this is other than the noise of wheels when the plane lands and the noise made due to friction with air. Chin Toh, a company employee, was the one who came up with the idea to harvest electricity from all this acoustic energy that usually goes to waste.
The method involves installing a number of ‘acoustic wave collectors’ along the runways’ edges where they will collect the noise being generated by the airplanes and ultimately have it converted into usable energy that shall be used for powering some of the airport systems.
The vibrational energy from sound waves could be converted into an airflow boost to a turbine and thus end up creating electricity. A substation would collect this energy and have it distributed to the appropriate sectors. The system developed by Toh, however, is still not able to generate enough electricity to justify its need and the cost of implementation.
So, until the time technology allows us to convert sound into energy at an enhanced level, this Boeing patent could very well stay on hold for a long time. However, there is one thing we are sure of; it will come out of closet in the future!