Feeds

PayPal founder funds 'tornado-driven' power plant

Green science or mad?

Intelligent flash storage arrays

PayPal co-founder Peter Theiss’ Breakout Labs has spun some pin-money in the direction of a Canadian inventor who claims to have a “zero-carbon” electricity generator that works by creating a captive “atmospheric vortex”.

Or, in the more hyperbolic language of Breakout Labs, AVEtec, it’s a “tornado” driven generator.

Prototype demonstrating AVEtec vortex creation

AVEtec prototype vortex chamber

AVEtec’s claim is that it can use waste heat from facilities like existing power plants – which is a fairly loose interpretation of the expression “zero carbon” – to heat air at the intake of its generation chamber. Warm or humid air entering the bottom of the chamber at the right angle, the company says, will produce a vortex within the chamber, with turbines designed to harvest that energy at the top.

Breakout Labs is putting $300,000 into a proof-of-concept designed to prove one way or the other whether the phenomenon can produce useful amounts of power at the low cost claimed for it (Breakout’s media release puts the price at as little as 3 cents per kilowatt-hour).

At a diameter of 100 meters, the outfit says, it could harvest enough energy to produce 200 MW of power. The test receiving Breakout Labs funding is of a more modest scale: a little over 30 meters tall and nearly eight meters in diameter.

Using heated air to generate power isn’t new, of course. That’s also the principle behind solar thermal power – Australia’s CSIRO has such a plant in Newcastle and is working on an $AU87 million project to cut the generation price from 25 cents per kilowatt-hour down to 10 cents.

AVEtec president Louis Michaud explained the principles in an article in Mechanical Engineering, here. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
'Utter killjoy Reg hacks have NEVER BEEN LAID', writes a fan
'Shuddit, smarty pants!' Some readers reacted badly to our last Doctor Who review ...
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
White LED lies: It's great, but Nobel physics prize-winning great?
How artificial lighting could offer an artificial promise
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.