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Brief Published: 11 Jul 2013

Tornado-Inspired Energy Generator


Canadian engineer Louis Michaud is developing a new form of engine to capture the electrical energy generated by a man-made tornado. The Atmospheric Vortex Engine (AVE) is a system that recycles excess heat emitted from coal or gas-burning power plants into usable electrical energy by pushing the hot air into a cylinder, and creating a contained cyclone. The constant spinning of this man-made tornado would power turbines that would in turn generate electricity.

Michaud’s AVEtec technology company in Canada received $300,000 in funding from American entrepreneur Peter Thiel late last year to help develop this tornado-inspired system. The grant was awarded to AVEtec through Thiel’s Breakout Labs programme, which aims to support the development of groundbreaking technologies.

Tornados contain impressive amounts of energy. According to news reports, the recent one in Moore, Oklahoma released more energy than the atomic bomb dropped over Hiroshima in 1945.

Though smaller prototypes have been made, Michaud and his team aspire to create an incredibly powerful Vortex Engine measuring more than 300 ft in diameter. This cyclone cylinder would generate 200 megawatts of electricity and create no waste products of its own throughout the process, according to the AVEtec website.

Scientists and engineers continue to search for new, sustainable sources of energy. See Stylus reports on Unlocking Algae, Green Aviation, The Future of C02 and our report on nature-inspired technologies, Learning from Natural Systems for more.