With the recent tornado in Moore OK I thought I would revisit this post and embed a youtube video showing the beginning stage of the spawn of this tornado in Newcastle, OK before it developed into an F4 and devastated Moore OK.
Fossil fuel power plants pass a lot of waste heat in the process of generating electricity. So what is the most efficient use of this waste heat? If someone can figure out how to create a huge vortex of warm air then you offer the ability to create a change in pressure. The change of pressure occurs at the bottom of this man made tornado and in theory would be enough pressure to spin a turbine housed at the bottom of this vortex. The possibilities when it comes to virtually free on demand electricity seem limitless.
For over 35 years Louis Michaud has tried to figure out how to make this thing work. Louis is a retired engineer from ExxonMobil and has finally received some monetary backing from the popular venture capitalist Peter Thiel. You may know Peter better as the guy who co-founded Paypal and was an early investor in both LinkedIn and Facebook.
Michaud was given $300,000 to further his research in this new energy generation idea. Peter sees huge potential with this concept and if man can actually recreate a tornado in a controlled environment like this the electricity that could be created would be extremely clean and cheap to produce.
Michaud will use the money to experiment with the creation of a miniature sized tornado for electricity generation at Lambton College in Sarnia, Ontario. With the proper lab equipment the possibility is there to come up with a working model of how this could be done for electricity generation.
The idea that a vortex can somehow generate electricity is not some childhood fantasy but is based on real science. The way this would be done is in first understanding that when air is heated it expands, becomes lighter and finally rises up. As the air starts going up in the vortex the air pressure at the bottom of it becomes lower.
The final stage of the process involves air entering at the bottom of the vortex which causes a significant difference in pressure which rotates the electricity generating turbine.
For those who don’t know a turbine is like a windmill or waterwheel but in this case it is a wheel of some kind on a shaft that starts spinning as air pressure hits it. As the turbine spins it generates electricity that is stored in batteries or sent over the power lines on demand. If we can actually learn to create these tornadoes as needed we can generate a significant amount of power that could possibly be the equivalent of the cheap cost of nuclear power but without all the hazards that go along with such affordable electricity.
I have read some people claiming we shouldn’t try to learn how to create a tornado as this could potentially be a major threat to mankind if used for the destruction of other nations. I believe peoples fears about tornadoes being created for evil intent are amusing considering you can’t just create one of these things in the lab and then somehow pick it up and drop it like a bomb in another territory.
As I see it this idea is simply a possible break through in renewable energy generation at its finest.
You can read more in depth on this topic via this Stanford.edu article here