Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Wind, Solar, now Tornado Power

A Canadian scientist has a plan to draw power from man-made tornadoes, reports LiveScience (via MSNBC). According to Louis Michaud's idea, an open air 200-meter-wide "arena" would serve as the tornado's platform. When the platform is heated and a vortex is created, a tornado reaching "several miles into the sky" would show up. At the sides of the arena, wind turbines would generate electricity.

Pound360 has two questions. One, could these tornadoes knock birds (airplanes?) out of the sky? Two, what if one of the tornadoes escapes!? Imagine one of these things skips out of the arena and bounces through the nearest town. Bad news. And how loud would they be?

Another issue to consider is how the platform is heated. Michaud suggests exhaust from a power plant, but there's got to be a greener way. Solar thermal perhaps?

55 comments:

JC the engineer. said...

One interesting thing about exhaust from a fuel powered power plant is that not all power plants are "dirty" meaning they dont all produce pollution. For example, TNP-1 the coal plant in Hammand, Tx does not produce any pollution. It uses what is known as CFB combustor's, or for those of us not in the power industry, Circulated Fluidized Bedding. Basicaly, by mixing limestone in with the coal before it burns, the ash is too heavy to float to the top of the stacks and thus the only pollution created is waste heat. Strangely enough, if it were not for a bunch of crazy environmental regulations, these CFB's could also burn trash quite nicely, again with no pullution except waste heat. And the ash byproduct makes a nice concrete when mixed with water. So in the end you would be cutting down on acid-rain, the byproduct coul dbe used in the housing/construction industry, and we have a place to get rid of our trash instead of a landfill.

BTW...if a tornado were to skip out, it would dissipate due to friction from the earth's surface and a lack of incoming 'energy'

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Pound360 Archive

About Me

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.