Environment

Atmospheric Vortex Engine creates tornadoes to generate electricity

The LM-6 prototype AVE system
The LM-6 prototype AVE system
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A fully functional AVE power station with a 100-meter (328-foot) diameter is said to be capable of generating up to 200 megawatts of electrical power
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A fully functional AVE power station with a 100-meter (328-foot) diameter is said to be capable of generating up to 200 megawatts of electrical power
The heat required to get the mini-tornado started would initially be provided by a temporary heat source, such as a heater or steam
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The heat required to get the mini-tornado started would initially be provided by a temporary heat source, such as a heater or steam
The prototype will be manufactured in partnership with Lambton College, in Sarnia, Ontario
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The prototype will be manufactured in partnership with Lambton College, in Sarnia, Ontario
The LM-6 prototype AVE system
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The LM-6 prototype AVE system
A diagram of the AVE system
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A diagram of the AVE system

Tornadoes generally evoke the destructive force of nature at its most awesome. However, what if all that power could be harnessed to produce cheaper and more efficient electricity? This is just what Canadian engineer Louis Michaud proposes to achieve, with an invention dubbed the “Atmospheric Vortex Engine” (or AVE).

AVE works by introducing warm air into a circular station, whereupon the difference in temperature between this heated air and the atmosphere above creates a vortex – or controlled tornado, which in turn drives multiple wind turbines in order to create electricity. The vortex could be shut down by simply turning off the source of warm air.

A fully functional AVE power station with a 100-meter (328-foot) diameter is said to be capable of generating up to 200 megawatts of electrical power
A fully functional AVE power station with a 100-meter (328-foot) diameter is said to be capable of generating up to 200 megawatts of electrical power

Michaud’s company, AVEtec Energy Corporation, reports that the system produces no carbon emissions, nor requires energy storage to function, and that further to this, the cost of energy generated could potentially be as low as US$0.03 per kilowatt hour.

"The power in a tornado is undisputed," enthused Michaud. "My work has established the principles by which we can control and exploit that power to provide clean energy on an unprecedented scale."

The heat required to get the mini-tornado started would be provided by a temporary heat source, such as a heater, or steam. However, AVEtec states that once the vortex is thus established, the continuous heat could then be provided by a more sustainable source – such as waste industrial heat or warm seawater. According to the company’s figures, a functional AVE power station with a 100-meter (328-foot) diameter is capable of generating up to 200 megawatts of electrical power.

For now though, efforts are focused on producing an 8-meter (26-foot) prototype, which will create a 40-meter (141-foot) high vortex, with a diameter of 30 centimeters (11 inches). The vortex will power a single 1-meter (3.2-foot) turbine, and will be manufactured in partnership with Lambton College, in Sarnia, Ontario. This development is helped forward by a grant awarded by Breakout Labs.

AVEtec’s numbers can be scrutinized in full via the source link below.

Source: Vortex Engine via Clean Technica

33 comments
VirtualGathis
I wonder if this tech could be used to enahance output from the solar tower enviromission is planning. They both use thermal energy rising. http://www.gizmag.com/enviromission-solar-tower-arizona-clean-energy-renewable/19287/
Jeff J Carlson
a tornado's power doesn't come from the tornado but from the wind energy that forms it ... a big tower with a heat source and cold air vents at the bottom would generate as much energy as his vortex ... either way it won't generate a hill of beans worth of power ...
VirtualGathis
Hmm looks like I need to read the source before I post. The source mentioned the solar chimney and that the vortex replaces the need for the chimney so this would be a competeing technology.
lavaman
this may be something based on Victor Shauberger's ideas,,if so its about time. Known as the water wizard ,,Shauberger mimiced nature and did many amazing things with vortexes. Read about him and hope!
Justfly25
@ VirtualGathis - Enviromission's project is basically an artificial thermal generator and capitalizes on what nature is already doing all day long anyway. As a hang glider pilot I see this technology working very well. Some thermals give me a climb rate of 2,000+ fpm! However I don't see this AVE working very well. Enviromission uses the free heat from the sun.... This thing lost me as soon as they said they were going to heat all that air with other sources of energy. I'm calling BS on this one...
Adrien
how much energy does it take to make the warm air? by second law of thermodynamics it's gotta be more than you can extract out of the system. There's no free lunch.
Gadgeteer
This isn't anything new. Michaud has been pushing this concept for over a decade now. Get back to me when he actually gets measurable power out of his vortex engine.
Michael Gene
Is it more efficient that coal or natural gas power plants? If someone thinks it's over unity then ask yourself why can't it produce the heat needed to run it.
Slowburn
The question is how efficiently does it convert heat into mechanical energy. A self powered air condition would be so cool.
Richard Dinerman
Would this be viable using directed solar energy to heat the air? At least the heating part would be free (during daylight hours)