What a Concept, Emissions Free Tornado Power

Louis MichaudPatent number US 2004/0112055 A1 is entitled “Atmospheric Vortex Engine.” The name sounds interesting. The concept is mind blowing; to harness the energy producing potential of a tornado. It involves creating a vortex of air and holding it in a fixed position. Simply put, the tornado would be created to harness the energy that is produced when “heat is carried upward by convection in the atmosphere.” The tornado acts as a virtual chimney for the rising air. Louis Michaud goes on to state that, “The unit cost of electrical energy produced with an AVE could be half the cost of the next most economical alternative.” The concept has been around for a while, in fact, Louis Michaud registered his patent on June 17, 2004.

The “most economical alternative,” to which Michaud refers, is a similar concept, the Solar Updraft Tower. The Solar Updraft Tower uses a tall, physical tower and a large circular solar heat collector to heat the air surrounding the tower. Michaud’s system saves a great deal of money by eliminating the physical tower and replacing it with a virtual one. The tornado becomes the chimney structure. Hot water piped from nearby fossil fuel or nuclear power plants would “fuel” the Atmospheric Vortex Engine, creating the heat necessary to facilitate the updraft.

It is estimated that it would be possible to establish a self-sustaining vortex to demonstrate the feasibility of the process with a station 30 m in diameter under ideal conditions. Learning to control large vortices under less than ideal conditions would be a major engineering challenge. Developing the process will require determination, engineering resources; and cooperation between engineers and atmospheric scientists. There will be difficulties to overcome, but they should be no greater than in other large technical enterprises.

The difficulties that Michaud mentions are both human and engineering problems. People are justifiably nervous at the thought of living next door to a large, albeit tethered, tornado. With a vortex reaching perhaps twenty kilometers into the atmosphere, it would be a rather awe inspiring sight. Michaud contends, however, that the vortex could be shut down relatively easily by restricting the flow of hot water to the base of station.

After a year-long absence from the headlines, Michaud’s idea is starting to make media headway again. The Atmospheric Vortex Engine first appeared in The Observer in February of this year, and a week ago in The Toronto Star. Momentum may in fact be gathering for it once again. Ontario Centres of Excellence has already provided some funding which is has been used to build a second 1 meter scale model and create a computer simulation for the effects of crosswinds on a twenty meter model.

The next step is to build and study the performance of a four-metre model, requiring a further injection of OCE funds of about $300,000. The plan would be to scale up from there, moving on to 10-metre, 20-metre, and 50-metre pilot plants, likely requiring millions of dollars in both public and private funding.

A commercial plant would be quite large, Michaud estimates the size at between 200 and 400 meters in diameter. The cost of production would be somewhere in the vicinity of $60 million. It is not cheap, but neither is it a monstrous budget for civil engineering project. Michaud certainly has the work experience to have an idea of the costs involved; he worked as a senior process control engineer with Imperial Oil for over twenty-four years.

Could it work? Yes, it could. There are no physics principles being contravened. It will require the collaboration of scientists from different fields, public and private funding and a great deal of time to make a system like this a reality, but the potential is there. Given enough funding, we may start seeing some larger scale models in the not too distant future.
Solar Updraft Tower Atmospheric Vortex Engine Atmospheric Vortex Engine Concept 1

Atmospheric Vortex Engine Concept 2 Atmospheric Vortex Engine Concept 3

Sources: Gizmodo, The Star, Atmospheric Vortex Engine (Homepage),

Atmospheric Vortex Engine (Wikipedia), Solar Updraft Tower (Wikipedia),

Wentworth, New South Wales (Government Website)


About the author: C. S. Magor


C.S. Magor is the editor-in-chief and reporter at large for Uberreview and We Interrupt. He currently resides in a sleepy basin town in the Japanese countryside - where both his bank balance and the lack of space in his home are testament to his addiction to all things shiny.

Follow @csmagor on Twitter

Website: http://www.uberreview.com


Recent posts in Concept

  • http://www.4engr.com engineering

    For an indeformable solid, in rotation one calculates his kinetic energy by is the moment of inertia of the solid compared to the axis of rotation, is the angular velocity of rotation a second (a number of radians a second).

    …..depends on the geometry of the solid, for example for a homogeneous cylinder of ray R and mass M . Thus if you can estimate the size of a tornado (horizontal and vertical) and the speed of the winds, if one supposes homogeneous rotation (what is undoubtedly not the case), one can deduce the mass from it from air implied in the tornado like his number of angular revolutions and deduce an order of magnitude from it from the kinetic energy associated the tornado…..

    actually it is similar to a conservation equation of energy. In the center of the swirl, the fluid goes very quickly, and thus the pressure decreases enormously, with the result that very flies away…..thanks for this useful blogging…..

  • http://www.businessideas.ro John Biggs

    I recently read on http://digg.com/gadgets/Water_Vortex_Engine_to_Generate_Power about a similar kind of vortex engine (but for water) by Franz Zotlöterer, an Austrian scientist. A search led to a number of other scientists looking at water vortex engines too. So, perhaps the future is not too far away for either water or atmospheric vortex engines.

  • http://assee.free.fr MAUGIS


    Do you know the french project ?

    If you are interested, caal me back.

    Please find here under, some details.


    François MAUGIS.

    Solar chimeys « VORTEX » type (rotational flow wirling system) are the only solution to replace actual electricity plants in term of power.
    If such “vortex towers” are as powerfull as predicted, they probably shall replace actual solar chimneys as Spanish one in Manzanares (single flow upwind system) or even the future Australian one (1000 m high), less efficient.
    Two engineers working separately have discovered the same technical solution: AEROTHERMAL POWER PLANT.
    One of them is the French engineer Edgard NAZARE (see French patent N°1.439.849 – P.V. 983.953 dated 3rd of august 1964 in Paris and French patent N° 8.205.544 – publication number 2.524.530 dated 31st march 1982. Edgard NAZARE is dead on September 13th 1998.
    The other is the Canadian Process Engineer Louis MICHAUD whose project is called A.V.E. power plant (Atmospheric Vortex Engine).
    ADDRESS: Louis M. MICHAUD – 1269 Andrew court – SARNIA – Ontario – N7V 4H4 – CANADA. Phone: (519) 542.4464 – E mail: Louis.Michaud@sympatico.ca
    INTERNET: http://vortexengine.ca

    Nazare, venturi shaped tower is 300 m high and 300 m is also the diameter of the basis of the tower. The average power is 200 MW.
    The A.V.E. power plant of Michaud is a cylindrical tower of 100 m high with a diameter of 400 m. The small hurricane generated in such tower is 50 m diameter and 20000 m high. The average power is also 200 MW.

    Until now, the only solar chimney experimented is the Manzanares power plant built in 1982 (diameter 10 m, high 200 m, power: 50 KW.)
    Russia seems also interested in such power plants: See Russian patents N° 1.319.654, 8th October 1985- N° 1.526.335, 25 march 1988 and N° 1.641.962, 27 jannuary 1991.
    The Russian project confirm the interest of the rotational flow wirling system.
    The 1000 m high Australian project (single flow upwind system) is forecasted as 200 MW of electrical power.
    The Nazare venturi tower (rotational flow wirling system) is also forecasted as 200 MW of electrical power for a tower of only 300 m high.
    Nazare announced much more power for higher towers: 1400 MW for a tower of 600 m high, for instance.

    For further informations concerning NAZARE / MICHAUD project, please contact:
    Fran̤ois MAUGIS Р7 route de Fontaine Р60300 MONTLOGNON РFrance.
    Phone: 0627126914 – FAX: 0344581317 – E mail : energie.environnement@wanadoo.fr.



  • Pingback: Tornadele pot reduce incalzirea globala « CathaliN’s Blog()

  • Pingback: Mercedes Tornado - Ultimatecarpage.com forums()

  • Pingback: Power from controlled Tornadoes - What Jamie Found()

  • Pingback: Three Revolutionary Alternative()

  • http://www.vortexengineer.com Cooperdon0

    For a variation of the concept using geothermal energy see http://www.vortexegineer.com


Post of the week