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.

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: Innovation, Apple


Heather Clancy is an award-winning business journalist specializing in transformative technology and innovation. Her articles have appeared in Entrepreneur, Fortune Small Business, The International Herald Tribune and The New York Times. In a past corporate life, Heather was editor of Computer Reseller News. She started her journalism lif... Full Bio

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.