TOKYO — A Japanese engineer has designed a new type of wind turbine that he believes would be able to harness power from typhoons.
Atsushi Shimizu founded a tech company called Challenergy in 2013 and invented a wind turbine that not only can draw power from the force of wind, but can stay functional during typhoons.
The typhoon turbine consists of three vertical blades and a central rod. It has an omnidirectional axis so that it can respond to wind coming from every direction.
Instead of driven by a propeller, the turbine makes use of the principle of the Magnus effect: air curves when passing by a rotating object, and the downward deflection of the air-flow produces a lifting force that counteracts the force of gravity, enabling the object to remain airborne.
The blades are controlled by the central rod, which can be tightened to slow down, or stop the blades regardless of the external forces.
Under normal circumstances, the typhoon turbine can achieve about 30 percent efficiency while conventional wind turbine can achieve 40 percent, ScienceAlert reported. However, conventional wind turbines could be damaged by typhoons while the typhoon turbine would be able to function normally.
"Japan actually has a lot more wind power than it does solar power, it's just not utilized," Shimizu told CNN. "Japan has the potential to be a super power of wind.”
According to the Japan Guide, about seven or eight typhoons pass over Okinawa prefecture each year, with about three hitting its main islands. Shimizu believes a single typhoon could generate enough energy to power Japan for 50 years.
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