Apple's novel wind turbine patent uses heat to create power

Apple's novel wind turbine patent uses heat to create power

Summary: The energy storage and generation system described in the company's 2011 patent application addresses the variable nature of wind as a clean energy source.

TOPICS: Emerging Tech, Apple

Apple's patents in mobile computing have been the subject of much debate (and hate) in recent months as its battle with Samsung has played out in court. But did you know that Apple has also filed paperwork for a rather unusual wind turbine?

The application filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in June 2011 covers technology for "on-demand generation of electricity from stored wind energy."

Standard wind turbine designs use wind energy along its blades (or sails) to turn rotors, which power machinery or electric generators. But Apple's proposal offers a twist - one that accounts for the variability of wind.

In its systeme, the rotational energy created by the turbine is to generate heat that is then stored in a "low-heat-capacity" fluid. The heat is then transferred into a working fluid that creates steam, which is used to power an electric generator.

One of the patent images is listed below:


How might Apple use this technology? The applications aren't immediately clearly, but more than likely it's a way for the company to continue adding clean energy generation sources to its data centers - as it is doing in North Carolina.



Topics: Emerging Tech, Apple

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  • Sounds wastetful.

    I'd imagine you'd get less friction and thermal losses just going directly to the generator from the spinning shaft.
    • The Idea is to store energy when there isn't any wind.

      If the shaft isn't spinning, then neither is the generator. The stored energy from this arrangement would run the generator when there is no wind. This system would be used in concert with traditional wind turbines where the mill's output shaft *would* be directly connected, i.e., integrated. Thus, the customer would have power with and without wind...and could even provide excess energy in the event of local blackouts, making them a great neighbor.
  • Hopefully

    Hopefully this goes in front of a patent examiner that didn't flunk thermodynamics and quickly rejects it.
    • It's not a perpetual motion machine

      it's an energy storage system. Surplus power generated by the wind turbine is pumped into a heat reservoir from which it can later be withdrawn when there's a deficit using a heat exchanger.
    • You are not seeing the whole picture here.

      This type of thermal system works in harmony with geothermal and heat differential systems which would also run the HVAC as well. In which case it is inefficient to go directly to electricity. Each system augments the other based on need.
    • Hopefully?

      Why hopefully? Are you so twisted by hate that you think Apple shouldn't be allowed to exist? Did Steve Jobs run over your cat?
  • And are we sure Apple is not copying Samsung now?

    because Samsung also have businesses in renewable energy: