Remember the good old days when seeing a tornado meant running in the opposite direction as fast as possible while screaming various curses and watching farm animals fly around? Well, they're over.
Chris L. and Tea L. for Digital Journal - A retired refinery engineer from Sarnia has invented a new way to spin turbines and create energy. According to the recent article from Toronto Star, Louis Michaud created a tornado-like vortex out of a small wooden container and a propane torch.
Now, you might think "No big deal!" However, this small tornado follows the same principles as its real life equivalent. According to Michaud, the real life tornadoes form when the air is heated in the bottom by the sun and then it rises, cools and comes back down again.
This might seem like a science experiment that you would do and then leave alone. However, Mr. Michaud is not fooling around. He spent 40 years studying tornadoes and hurricanes and is now convinced that it is possible to engineer and control full-scale tornadoes. Then, humans can harness that energy to produce emission-free electricity.
So, the future of electricity production could be tornado power on demand, unless you are thinking "holy sh*t that doesn't sound like a good idea!"
Michaud has adapted this process to create vortex engines and has also patented the invention in both Canada and the U.S. Recently, he has founded a company by the name of AVEtec Energy Corp. which is responsible for making his, to many unthinkable idea, possible.
The only thing his company now needs to do is get venture capitalists, energy executives and at least one community behind his approach. Anyone interested? He's talking about a 200-megawatt device that produces a 1-20 kilometer high tornado, 200 meters in diameter. According to him, this would power approximately 200,000 homes.
Think Jurassic Park. The old, eccentric man instead of developing dinosaurs develops how to produce tornadoes and then loses control over them and the rest is history.
The only thing that is needed to keep this "weather pattern" in place is the source of heat that could come from geothermal or nuclear plants. The turbines which will be included in the device (approximately 10) would be used as fans to start the tornado rolling.
This is not a joke. In fact, Michaud has already attracted some research funding from the Ontario Centres of Excellence. Nicole Geneau from OCE's Centre for Energy did not like the idea at first but once seeing the patent decided that it would be worth further studying.
According to Rick Whittaker, these "fake" tornadoes are not violating any laws of physics meaning that it is actually possible to keep them in one place.
The next step would be building a 10, 20 and 50 meter model pilot plants.
Nilton Renno, a professor from the University of Michigan, stated that there is no reason why Michaud's device would not work, stating that "The concept is solid." However, he is particularly concerned with the ability to control such a powerful monster.
"The amount of energy involved is huge. Once it gets going, it may be too hard to stop," he says.
Michaud argues that the device would be simple to shut off or turn down by limiting the amount of air flow into the base of the funnel. Moreover, he dismisses the idea that these monstrous vortexes would cause any damage or make any noise. According to him, tornadoes make noise and become more destructive as they draw debris into their funnels.
Renno on the other hand is not convinced by this stating that as the vortex grows it will be able to sustain itself with warm ambient air from kilometers away. When he was asked whether he would like one of these devices near his community, he replied: "No, not close to my house" – at least not until the concept is proven.
Now, get this. Michaud thinks that it is a good idea to sell one of these to Disneyland. Moreover, he believes that in the future if his idea kicks off, there will be thousands of these vortexes all over the world, cooling the air down. Basically, he believes that they would act as a massive air conditioner combating the effects of global warming.