Magnet power is emerging as a jack-of-all-trades in new green technology, and its latest trick could mean a big cut in the energy used for lighting. The Office of Naval Research Global has partnered with the Tokyo Institute of Technology to develop a device for harvesting residual magnetic power from electrical currents. In an experimental installation at a military hotel in Tokyo, the device racked up a peak power savings of 39 percent. Its success has lead to a plan to equip the entire facility with new device, called the Magnetic Energy Recovery Switch (MERS).
Recovering Magnetic Power from Electricity
MERS is basically a way to control the flow of electricity more efficiently. The experimental installation, at the Hardy Barracks hotel in Tokyo, involved several fluorescent lights. In addition to saving energy, the MERS technology also generates less heat and helps to reduce electromagnetic interference. The proposed expansion of MERS to other areas at Hardy Barracks would occur next year, involving a break room, printing room, laundry, gym, and offices.
Energy Efficiency and the Office of Naval Research
In case you’re wondering why the Office of Naval Research is involved in the project, the Navy has been front and center in the U.S. military’s sustainability efforts. Along with a growing number of solar power and biofuel projects, the Navy has worked with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency on high-efficiency LED lighting systems for Navy ships. At a forum last year, the Office of Naval Research affirmed its commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainable energy, and reaffirmed its role in bringing new technologies and alternative energy to the civilian world.
Image: Fluorescent light bulb by rubberpaw on flickr.com.
Tina Casey specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. You can also follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.