A company named AVEtec has recently received $300,000 (€227,545) for the sole purpose of researching tornadoes and figuring out whether or not they can be harnessed in order to generate clean energy.
The company was given said sum of money by billionaire Peter Thiel, who now seems very much interested in green energy and innovative ways to generate it.
According to PopSci, Louis Michaud (i.e. the man behind AVEtec) believes that man-made and controlled tornadoes can be made to spin turbines, thus producing electricity.
Since one is basically dealing with wind power, no byproducts such as carbon dioxide and other harmful chemical compounds would be produced, meaning that the technology would have a fairly small ecological footprint.
In order to piece together such a controlled tornado, Louis Michaud wishes to make use of the heat typically generated by gas or coal plants.
This excess heat would be collected and fed at a sharp angle into a hollow cylinder, something that would translate into a vortex being created.
As previously explained, this vortex would be responsible for making several turbines to turn, thus adding to the coal or gas plant's power generating capacity.
Louis Michaud believes that, all things considered, one such vortex could add 200MW to the energy produced by a 500MW coal or gas power station.
“The power in a tornado is undisputed,” Louis Michaud said.
For the time being, said Canadian electrical engineer wishes to use the money Peter Thiel gave him to put together a working prototype of an installation which would allow him to “grow” vortexes.
Specialists working with the Lambton College in Ontario are to collaborate with him, and Louis Michaud hopes that soon enough he will be able to produce a vortex whose diameter is one of about 0.3 meters (one-foot) and which is fully capable of making a small turbine spin around its axis.