Tag Archives: efficiency

Cold Incandescent Light Bulbs?

Just when you thought incandescent bulbs were going out, they’ve been “reinvented” to be even more efficient than LEDs!

Normally Incandescent bulbs are about 5-10% efficient as most of the energy is converted to wasted heat and this age-old problem has finally been solved.

We’re literally talking about recycling light in a two step process.

The key is to create a two-stage process, the researchers report. The first stage involves a conventional heated metal filament, with all its attendant losses. But instead of allowing the waste heat to dissipate in the form of infrared radiation, secondary structures surrounding the filament capture this radiation and reflect it back to the filament to be re-absorbed and re-emitted as visible light. These structures, a form of photonic crystal, are made of Earth-abundant elements and can be made using conventional material-deposition technology.

That second step makes a dramatic difference in how efficiently the system converts electricity into light. One quantity that characterizes a lighting source is the so-called luminous efficiency, which takes into account the response of the human eye. Whereas the luminous efficiency of conventional incandescent lights is between 2 and 3 percent, that of fluorescents (including CFLs) is between 7 and 15 percent, and that of most commercial LEDs between 5 and 20 percent, the new two-stage incandescents could reach efficiencies as high as 40 percent, the team says.

The first proof-of-concept units made by the team do not yet reach that level, achieving about 6.6 percent efficiency. But even that preliminary result matches the efficiency of some of today’s CFLs and LEDs, they point out. And it is already a threefold improvement over the efficiency of today’s incandescents.

The team refers to their approach as “light recycling,” says Ilic, since their material takes in the unwanted, useless wavelengths of energy and converts them into the visible light wavelengths that are desired. “It recycles the energy that would otherwise be wasted,” says Soljačić.

The rest of the article available here: http://news.mit.edu/2016/nanophotonic-incandescent-light-bulbs-0111 mentions that the crystal is created with readily available natural ingredients so cost will probably not be an issue if they actually get these out to the public.

Halbach Array 1.4 Pound Motor Delivers 7 Horsepower

Halbach Array Lightweight Motor

A classic three-phase 7 horsepower motor can easily be over 100 pounds and is designed to run around 1800 rpm. This higher power density motor delivers this kind of horsepower at almost 5 times the speed. It has different applications and windows of operation so it isn’t an apples to apples comparison. However, the developers do appear to win the bragging rights for the most energy dense motor commercially available.

Launchpoint Technologies Halbach Array Motor
Launchpoint Technologies Halbach Array Motor

Launchpoint Technologies website says, “With a total weight of only 1.4 pounds, this motor produces 7 horsepower at 8400 rpm with 95 percent efficiency. At 5 horsepower per pound, this motor has a higher power density than any other motor on the market.

There are countless applications for this kind of motor such as improvements in battery life in electric cars, electric bikes, electric-powered aircraft and the list goes on.

Halbach Array
Halbach Array

What makes this advancement possible is the use of the Halbach Array, which is a clever organization of the polarity of multiple magnets to create a very strong field on one side while almost totally negating the field on the other. Here is an old discussion on the Halback Array on Energetic Forum with some references: Halbach Array

Here is an early demo of the Launchpoint Technologies Halbach Array motor:

Halbach Array

A very interesting benefit of the Halbach Array is that it defeats Earnshaw’s Theorem which says, “states that a collection of point charges cannot be maintained in a stable stationary equilibrium configuration solely by the electrostatic interaction of the charges.”

For example, if you took a ring magnet and had another magnet on a shaft in side of that ring magnet, you wouldn’t be able to get it to stay right in the middle even if you spin it – if you were trying to create a magnetic bearing for example.

Halbach Array Magnetic BearingHowever, with the Halbach Array, you can. With the clever arrangement of the polarities of various permanent magnets, you can indeed get a magnet to spin inside of this field and maintain stability in the middle without it sticking to any particular spot.

Halbach Array Mangetic Bearing
Halbach Array Mangetic Bearing

Learn more at Launchpoint Technologies

Silent Refrigeration

A refrigerator uses a traditional heat pump. A compressor is powered usually by electricity and that circulates a “refrigerant” like freon or some synthetic version through some tubes that go through heat exchangers – the bottom line is that is pulls the heat out of the fridge to make it cold.

An AC is just another variation of this as is all other heat pump technologies such as heat pump hot water heaters. Some give you cold while expelling the heat and some give you heat while expelling the cold.

Heat pumps are a really great technology and are very reliable and have made our lives much easier. There are a few drawbacks such as the noise and occasional maintenance due to moving parts.

Phononic is a company, which has eliminated these problems by building a completely silent and solid state refrigerator using hundred year old Peltier junctions…they’re semiconductors basically that get hot on one side and cold on the other.

Peltier’s definitely work but their drawback is that they are very inefficient…it takes a lot of watt hours to produce any substantial heating or cooling, but Phononic has scaled them up and have made them more efficient than ever. Normally, they’re under 10% efficient, but now they’re over 30%!

Phononic heat pump

Even at 30%, they can’t compete with heat pumps in terms of Coefficient of Performance (COP), but being that they are much smaller than normal compressor heat pumps and they’re silent, they do have their place.

While this advancement in Peltier technology isn’t going to get anyone off the grid, it is a very welcome improvement as a three times increase in efficiency in anything doesn’t happen every day.

To put that into perspective – the automobile engine was commonly under 20% efficient and the newest cars on the road today are lucky to achieve 30% efficiency – and that is over many, many decades of automotive advancements.

Go here for more of the story on Phononic: http://www.treehugger.com/clean-technology/your-refrigerator-running-soon-it-will-be-doing-doing-it-solid-state.html

Saphonion Reinvents Wind Energy

It’s no secret that on a large scale, wind energy is not a viable solution as the maintenance is too high amongst countless other problems. It’s actually so bad that it would fail if it weren’t for the government subsidies to keep it floating.

Wind energy on a small scale is much more sensible, but even so, it isn’t that efficient. There is something called the Betz Limit that states that no wind turbine can capture more than 59.3% of the kinetic energy of the wind, but so far wind turbines only capture 30-40% of the wind.

There is a new wind technology that is blowing everything else away and it is 2.3 TIMES more efficient than blade technology and at a 45% reduction in cost.


Welcome to the Saphonian – a bladeless wind generator that takes the energy from the wind and uses it to pump up hydraulic accumulators. Watch it in action – this video is in French but you can see the obvious mechanism:

Visit their website to learn more about this revolutionary wind technology: http://www.saphonenergy.com/