An engineer in Japan is looking for a silver lining in the destructive typhoons that regularly drench the island nation. Atsushi Shimizu has invented the world’s first typhoon wind turbine, an egg beater-like contraption designed to harness the immense energy of storms as a unique renewable energy source. Shimizu believes that the energy from just one typhoon could power Japan for half a century.
The amount of kinetic energy generated by a typhoon is enormous. The Atlantic Oceanographic & Meteorological Laboratory estimates that a mature typhoon produces a level of energy “equivalent to about half the world-wide electrical generating capacity.” The challenging task, for Shimizu and other storm chasers interested in boosting Japan’s green energy, is harnessing that energy efficiently.
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To that end, Shimizu devised Challenergy, a vertical-axis Magnus wind power generator robust enough to withstand the high winds of a typhoon and wrangle the energy from a massive storm in order to generate electricity. The technology has already received a fair amount of press coverage in Japan, where many people are eager to find ways to produce sustainable energy and find a way to benefit from the storms that cause immense damage with high winds and tidal waves.