Low-cost, portable, solar-powered “Anywhere Fan” enables disaster relief teams to cool and ventilate homes during power outages caused by natural disasters.
A UCF researcher has invented a portable, solar-powered fan that requires less power than existing personal and ventilation fans and generates about 30 percent more airflow. Besides being energy-efficient, the new “Anywhere Fan” is very quiet and can run on different power sources, as needed: solar panels, rechargeable batteries or conventional electrical outlets connected to a grid. Its modular components are easy to pack, unpack and carry, too.
Though portable fans have long been available, their planar-shaped blade designs fail to maximize airflow, and their operation relies on electrical power via a wall plug or batteries that require constant recharging or replacing. The new UCF Anywhere Fan offers a simple, low-cost solution. With its novel twisted blade design, the fan generates significantly more airflow with less energy usage and can operate during power outages caused by severe weather or natural disasters. Easily portable, the invention can provide immediate cooling in any location. For example, it can vent hot air from attic areas of a residence or commercial building to improve the efficiency of air-conditioning systems. It can also be used during and after power losses caused by natural disasters, such as hurricanes and earthquakes. Environments or areas with limited power supplies (including construction sites, outdoor vendors, campsites and fishing boats) can benefit from the new system, as well.
The invention comprises designs and methods for producing a portable, modular fan system that includes a fan housing and a carrying case with a built-in solar panel. The fan can be used anywhere that ventilation and airflow are needed and electrical power is not readily accessible. In addition to the fan housing, the system includes plugs, adapters and rechargeable batteries that enable the fan to operate without solar power, as well. Users can recharge the batteries via the solar panel or an electrical outlet. The fan’s optimized airflow blades, made of either plastic or metal, have a twisted configuration. In one example use, the blades can rotate approximately 500 rpm. Under solar power, the blades and motor can generate approximately 1040 cubic feet per minute (CFM) while using no more than approximately 16 watts. With the invention’s easy portability, it can support a variety of personal and commercial uses. Also, unlike many other small fans, which are very noisy, the invention is extremely quiet.
- Low cost
- Portable and easy to assemble
- Energy-efficient and reduces electrical power consumption
- Uses solar power, batteries, or electrical power from a grid
- Personal use, Ventilation underneath roofs, exhaust fan
- During and after natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes
- Construction sites and outdoor activities, such as camping and fishing