Power plant concept uses a tornado to drive turbines.
The Atmospheric Vortex Engine is a conceptual power plant developed by an engineer at Western University, and would generate a controlled tornado to power several turbines. A four metre high model has already been demonstrated, and now a larger prototype has been funded to demonstrate the feasibility and safety of the idea.
In his design, warm and humid air get pulled into a circular station, where it assumes the form of a rising and powerful vortex. The temperature difference between this heated air and the atmosphere above it supports and drives the turbines. It essentially works by “spinning” low-grade waste heat into a vortex which extends up into the atmosphere.
The controlled tornado can be shut down at any time by turning off the source of warm air.
Among its advantages, AVE power generation wouldn’t produce carbon emissions, nor would it require energy storage. Michaud estimates that the cost of the energy produced by AVE could be as low as 3 cents per kilowatt hour, which would make it one of the least expensive forms of energy production.