In a patent filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office, Apple Inc, the electronics giant synonymous with electrical devices we all know well, has submitted a patent for a revolutionary twist to the current horizontal axis wind turbine.
This patent details the concept of collecting energy in the form of heat rather than directly generating the electricity via mechanical means.
What is proposed is that the mechanical action of the turbine transfers the kinetic energy of the wind through various shafts to raise the temperature of a “low-heat capacity fluid” stored under the turbine itself. This low level heat then acts as an energy store, much like a battery, that another connected system using a ‘Working Fluid’ then slowly converts via other methods to electricity.
This allows the turbine system to generate electricity whatever the weather day and night, storing energy when operational and generating electricity at times when the grid requires it most.
The raw concept works by attaching a heat pump to a wind turbine. In theory the process could be used to heat homes and businesses / communities as well. But in this instance the high level heat generated via the heat exchange system, is used to vaporise the working fluid which drives a turbine that is connected to the generator. It is this final stage of the wind turbine system that is the actual source of the electricity.
The Inventor, Jean L. Lee from San Jose in the United States, has filed many fascinating patents in the field of Renewable Energy over the last few years, from Fuel Cell systems that power portable devices (such as the iPod’s and laptops) to flame proof materials.
Apple is constantly striving to reduce the amount of toxic substances in its products, lowering the amount of greenhouse gases emitted during production and increasing the efficiency of its products.
To this end expanding into the renewable energy market and looking at ways to offset the carbon and energy costs of their products is a logical and innovative step, one that is welcomed here at The Renewable Energy Hub.