Peter Thiel’s philanthropic organisation, the Thiel Foundation, operates a special grant-making body known as Breakout Labs, which invests in early-stage science ventures that are too experimental, or currently unprofitable, to attract traditional investment.
One project that has recently received a grant is AVEtec, which is developing the technology to harness the power of tornadoes.
Louis Michaud, the Canadian engineer who has designed the Atmospheric Vortex Engine (AVE), said that, “the power in a tornado is undisputed. My work has established the principles by which we can control and exploit that power to provide clean energy on an unprecedented scale. With the funding from Breakout Labs, we are building a prototype in partnership with Lambton College to demonstrate the feasibility and the safety of the atmospheric vortex engine.”
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The AVE uses warm, humid air introduced into a circular station in which it mixes with colder air and creates a rising vortex. The artificial tornado can then power several turbines positioned around the circumference of the station.
AVE technology produces no carbon emissions, can be fully controlled, or even turned off, depending on the power needs, by regulating the flow of hot air into the station. The power generation capacity is potentially huge, and the cost of the energy generated is estimated at just 3 cents per kilowatt hour, making it one of the cheapest forms of energy production.
By. James Burgess of Oilprice.com
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