ZDNet: Apple’s Novel Wind Turbine Patent Uses Heat to Create Power

To read the full article by Heather Clancy for GreenTech Pastures, please click here!

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 system, 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.

Apple Patent image

One of the patent images.

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.