I recently posted a blog about evil genius Louis Michaud and his wind vortex engine. Well, it appears as though we're only mere moments away from earth and fire vortex engines, because somebody is already working on a water vortex. Brilliant insanity!
From the website:
Austrian engineer Franz Zotlöterer has constructed a low-head power plant that makes use of the kinetic energy inherent in an artificially induced vortex. The water's vortex energy is collected by a slow moving, large-surface water wheel, making the power station transparent to fish - there are no large pressure differences built up, as happens in normal turbines...
Zotlöterer's results are quite respectable. The cost of construction for his plant was half that of a conventional hydroelectric installation of similar yield and the environmental impact is positive, instead of negative.
Although I understand a national fixture like Niagara Falls would never be permitted to install something this grand in scale, it does tickle-me-interest to think what sheer power would be generated from a world wonder so vast in size. Conversely, I'm now working on a much smaller scale, developing a mini-water vortex for my loo. Something's got to charge my cell phone!
Seem much less invasive than our other options: