A while back, and with some drama, we let the world know that there was a crazy guy named Louis Michaud who wanted to harness the power of tornadoes to create electricity. And while that is indeed on the edge of insane, we can't help but kinda love the idea.
Since we wrote about Michaud and his plan to create stable tornadoes using the waste-heat from power plants, he's moved forward with the idea. Thanks to a $30,000 grant from Ontario's Center for Energy, Michaud has been able to continue his work, creating mathematical models of the possibilities, as well as a scale model of a tornado creator in his lab.
Michaud recently applied for a $3,000,000 grant that would allow him to scale the device up to a size that could actually a little bit dangerous. But going full-scale won't be possible without a real commercial-scale project.
This would likely be paid for by power plants, who would use the tornadoes to generate about 200 megawatts of electricity while eliminating the need for $20M cooling towers. The tornado would, in effect, become a virtual cooling tower without walls.
Progress has also been made in trying to work out how to control the Tornadoes (or, as Michaud has re-named them "atmospheric engines") in case peculiar weather starts to make them self-sustaining or threatens to move them outside of the a controlled area. Turning off the heat from the power plant might do it, but the air supply could also be limited using a large wall that would surround the tornado.
Dousing the area with cold water could also be an effective failsafe...cooling the ground and thus shutting down the temperature gradient from the ground to the sky.
But the biggest new piece of information is that Michaud thinks he knows how much energy can be derived from power plant waste heat. This is roughly 40% of the power a power plant currently produces. So, in effect, every 500 megawatt plant would generate 700 megawatts. Widespread installation of these tornado power plants could eliminate the need for 40% of Americas coal plants. Every single old, dirty and dying coal plant in the world could be turned off for good...without needing any thing to replace them!
That's the power of tornadoes....if we can harness them.
written by Roy, March 20, 2008
written by yew, August 29, 2008
|< Prev||Next >|