Leave it to the innovative minds in Japan to hatch plans aimed at harnessing a typhoon’s enormous wind energy to power the nation. Japanese engineer Atsushi Shimizu took things up a notch when he invented the world’s first typhoon-powered wind turbine.
The typhoon turbine innovation of the founder of the green tech company Challenergy is touted not only to withstand the most punishing typhoons but also turn the tremendous power of devastating storms into useful energy. Shimizu calculated that a large array of his turbines can capture enough energy from a typhoon to power Japan for 50 years.
The Typhoon Turbine’s Design
Regular wind turbines are unable to withstand the forces of typhoon-class winds. In 2013, for instance, Typhoon Usagi shattered eight conventional turbines and damaged eight.
The typhoon turbine is designed with three vertical blades and a central rod. With its omnidirectional axis, it can respond to wind emanating from various directions.
In lieu of a propeller, the revolutionary turbine with rotating cylinders utilizes the Magnus effect (air curving around something or sideways force that causes spinning object to deviate from a straight path). Challenergy won funding to come up with the innovation, and is a clear-cut illustration of a seeing potential, rather than a threat, from a natural catastrophe like a typhoon.
The firm has performed simulated tests back in 2015, coming up with a 30 percent turbine efficiency level. The next challenge for Shimizu (who has exhibited both passion and the engineer mind’s flow state) and his team, along with the finetuning part, is to determine how to catch and contain all the energy from a typhoon, considering that current battery technology might be incapable of storage.
The team is also bracing to test the turbine creation’s efficiency when typhoon occurs. Shimizu’s turbines could signal a major step for Japan to be energy-dependent, since the country currently imports almost 85 percent of its energy requirements. Japan was a big proponent of nuclear energy, but veered away from it when the Fukushima disaster happened in 2011.