Stephen Dewar, Philip Watts & Frank Fish – Turbines and fans inspired by whales (SHORT)
Humpback whales. The gentle giants of the sea glide through the water as if they were as light as a feather. It was thanks to these creatures that these three men became inventors. “We all love the sea and we all love animals.” “We are all interested in the relationship between biology and technology.” “We all wanted to build something new and sustainable.” The whales‘ flippers have curious bumps at the front. There’s a reason for these so-called tubercles: they give the whale lift and great swimming agility, enabling it to turn tightly. Compared to classic wing surfaces with straight leading edges, the tubercles increase lift AND reduce drag. A surprising combination. Watts and Fish transferred these properties from the water to the air and, together with Dewar, they founded a company for this technology. Their development: efficient turbine blades with tubercles. And energy savings of 20 percent. They’re already under licence for computer cooling fans and room ventilators and could also be used for turbines or wind farms. Nature just can’t help being the best inventor. All we have to do is take a closer look.