January 26, 2012 • Perspectives

We’re not in Kansas anymore

by Allie Heiniger

"I've got to go, Julie. We've got cows." from the movie Twister

Tornadoes have long held the public captive with their ability to destroy all things in their path (I know for

a fact that any energy consultant worth a dime has memorized at least one line from Twister). So I can’t say that I was altogether surprised to hear that tornadoes have the highest energy density of any storm in nature. Despite many claims of harnessing the energy of a tornado (I’m looking at you, Pecos Bill), Mother Nature’s fury has had a mind of its own. That is until Louis Michaud came around.

Scientist Louis Michaud believes that capturing the unique energy of a tornado is possible using an atmospheric vortex engine (AVE). Unfortunately, this does not require storm chasing of any kind, rather an artificial vortex in a large cylinder that would concentrate the energy produced into an area where it can be captured.

How it works.

This so called “Tornado Power Plant” would utilize a heat source such as steam to heat the air within the  walls of the cylinder. This heat would then be carried upward by convection in the atmosphere, and the manipulated conditions within the vortex would then create an artificial tornado. Compared to the renewable kinetic energy of horizontal winds captured by conventional wind turbines, the vortex engine’s estimated energy continual generation would not only be greater but more reliable. According to Michaud, this energy efficiency project could  “… generate 200 MW of electrical power at a cost as low as $0.03/kWh.”

Take that to the bank, Pecos Bill.

© 2011 Summit Energy Services. All rights reserved.