- Sep 29, 2022 6:47 pm GMT
Mastering how to harness the energy of storms could solve current energy and climate problems. No one wants to talk about controlling tornadoes to harness the energy of atmospheric upward heat convection.
Hurricanes are powered by the heat content of warm sea water. Raising surface air that has been sprayed with warm sea water can produce mechanical energy. The specific work, the mechanical energy produced per unit mass of air raised, can be calculated with engineering process simulators or with scientific calculators. Atmospheric models are not the only method of discovery.
Sea water spray can produce saturated air at a temperature approaching that of the water. Sprayed air temperature increases with water temperature and with water flow. Spray can produce saturated air approaching sea water temperature. Specific work increases with air temperature and relative humidity. Raising 90 % relative humidity air 2 °C colder than sea temperature from the sea surface to the tropopause is sufficient to produce a specific work of 5000 J/kg corresponding to a velocity of 100 m/s.
The simulator in the top image can be used to investigate the effect of pre‑hurricane air temperature and humidity, of spray temperature and flow, of the elevation of the tropopause, and of turbine efficiency. In high latitudes, where the air temperatures are low, water temperature as low as 18 °C can produce hurricane force winds.
Upward flow in a vortex is roughly proportional to the square of diameter. A 30 m diameter waterspout could have an upward flow of 10,000 kg/s (10 t/s) corresponding to a power of 50 MW, at a specific work of 5,000 J/kg. A 300 m diameter tornado and a 3 km diameter hurricane could have an upward flow of 1000 t/s and 100,000 t/s corresponding to powers 5 GW and 500 GW respectively.
The world current electrical power production of 3 TW could be provided by 6000 500 MW atmospheric vortex engines. The engine and the vortex could have base diameters of 300 m and 100 m respectively. The stations could be a few hundred kilometers apart. The well controlled vortices at the center of the stations would not be a hazard.
In a vortex, the work of expansion is transferred downward like in a solar chimney. Centrifugal force acts like a physical tube, it prevents high pressure ambient air from being drawn in the rising air and transmits the mechanical energy to grade.
“On Storm Energy” 2022 article with sample efficiency and energy thermodynamics calculations.
Top image explanation - Chemical engineering process simulator PROII.
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