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Cooling from Nature

July 29, 2015

Engineers are designing more efficient cooling systems inspired by physical processes in nature.



Nature-inspired engineering. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

[furnace fan] In our heating and cooling systems, [ventilation fan] ventilation [computer fan] even in our computers, fans are everywhere. Inventor Jay Harman, CEO of PAX Scientific, says they account for over twenty percent of the world’s power use—a number that could be reduced significantly, if engineers paid more attention to the way Mother Nature moves fluids: in a vortex, or whirlpool.

JAY HARMAN (PAX Scientific):

When we reverse-engineered a whirlpool,  and built a fan according to it, we can reduce the energy of fans by up to forty-seven percent. 


He recently completed a project to cut the energy needed to cool banks of computer servers and has similar designs for other home and industrial uses. In fact, he claims many of the world’s energy problems could be reduced by turning to Mother Nature as chief engineer. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society. 

Jay Harman is 2015 AAAS Lemelson Invention Ambassador, and recently gave a presentation on nature-inspired invention.