Beth Buczynski

Apple Files Patent for Wind Turbine That Can Produce Energy Even When There's No Wind

by , 12/29/12

Apple, wind power, wind energy, wind turbines, alternative energy, energy storage, batteries, patent, renewable energy, invention

Critics of wind power all like to point out the same problem with turbine technology: “What happens when the wind doesn’t blow”? Apple, usually a maker of products that consume energy, recently filed for a patent that may answer that question once and for all. The tech giant’s latest patent details a wind turbine that generates electricity from heat energy rather than rotational energy created by the rotation of the unit’s blades. According to the patent, this could allow wind energy to be stored in a “low-heat capacity fluid” which could then be tapped on an as-needed basis, i.e. whenever the wind dies down.

Apple, wind power, wind energy, wind turbines, alternative energy, energy storage, batteries, patent, renewable energy, invention

Traditional wind turbines use the kinetic energy of moving wind to rotate large blades. Using a drive shaft, this rotational energy is then used to power mechanical machinery or, as we’ve seen in recent years, generate electricity that can then be stored in a battery or funneled into the grid. Apple’s patent filing proposes a system that converts rotational energy from the turbine into heat, which is then stored in a “low-heat-capacity” fluid, according to Apple Insider. Next, the system selectively transfers the heat from the low-heat-capacity fluid to a working fluid. Finally, the system uses the transferred heat in the working fluid to generate electricity.

Details in the patent suggest this type of “on-demand” electric generation system could reduce costs associated with natural fluctuations in wind supply. It’s also possible that this system could act as a replacement for current conventional energy storage methods such as batteries.

+ US Patent and Trademark Office

Via TechCrunch

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3 Comments

  1. Ian L. McQueen January 15, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    As I see it, basically rubbish. First of all, the system is just a fancy arrangement for a storage battery. And second, basic physics or thermodynamics says that it is very difficult to extract much energy from a low temperature difference. The term “low-heat-capacity” fluid looks like bafflegab to me. I would not waste a lot of time trying to master it!

    IanM

  2. anuprasadibt January 12, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    it is the same concept of heat pump …

  3. Nathan Wise December 28, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    How does this differ from a heat pump?

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