Viewing entries tagged
Efficiency

Comment

Tiny holes for a smoother, more efficient flight

aircraft_tail1-660x990
aircraft_tail1-660x990

A chair with holes in it can be lightweight, functional, and still comfortable. But do you want to fly in an airplane with holes in it?

Remember that shape is the primary determinant of function, from a molecular level to trains and airplanes, and can be a big determinant of resource use as well. Boeing's new, more efficient 777X features tiny holes in its tail to help smooth airflow around the plane. The end result is higher fuel efficiency. (You can read a detailed explanation at Wired.)

Now add lightweight, comfortable seats, and you'll improve the system even more.

Comment

Comment

Resource Fix: A wind turbine for cities

Installation of typical, large wind turbines requires land plus resources to build a tower, which can run upwards of 300 feet tall. Large wind turbines are also often criticized for the noise they can produce.

A new wind turbine design from Poduhvat is a compact design suitable for urban applications. It maximizes wanted benefits (power generation) and minimizes unwanted byproducts (noise). In addition, the turbine can be mounted on existing infrastructure, like lighting poles and building rooftops to reduce the amount of resources needed to build infrastructure for turbines alone. Poduhvat’s design also facilitates the decentralization of electricity production, reducing transmission losses and bringing power closer to where it’s used.

With more than half the world’s population living in cities and urban growth continuing, what are the implications for the way we generate and distribute electricity? What are the opportunities for technologies like Poduhvat’s turbine?

Comment

Comment

Resource Fix: Precision in street lighting

Street lights have been a target for improvement among lighting experts for some time, and there are a number of approaches to improve their resource performance. One option is to focus on the energy use of the lamps themselves, replacing them with LEDs to increase efficiency. Another is to try to reduce the amount of resources tied up in the infrastructure associated with street lights. Phillips, for example, designed a "floating" street lighting system called FreeStreet, which consists of a series of LEDs connected via hanging cables, eliminating lampposts. And another approach has to do with precision. Lighting designers have used directional lamps and add-on devices to ensure that the light is directed downward.

Researchers at the National Central University in Taiwan and the Autonomous University of Zacatecas in Mexico are pursuing a new approach to precision. Their fixture contains a cluster of LEDs with a special lens that focuses the light rays so they’re parallel, rather than crossing over one another. The result of their design is light in a rectangular shape, offering a more precise match with the road surface that’s being lit. So, in addition to improving energy efficiency, the researchers have found a way to increase performance by using shape to get the light exactly where it’s needed.

For more technical details, you can read the research article published in Optics InfoBase. You can explore more on lighting at dMASS.net here.

Comment