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Apple Patents Wind Energy Storage

Jessica Lyons Hardcastle

Apple plans to develop a wind turbine that generates electricity from stored wind energy, according to AppleInsider.

The blog reports that the tech giant has filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that proposes electricity generation from converting heat energy rather than rotational energy created by the rotation of the turbine’s blades.

According to the application, the system works like this: “During operation, the system uses a set of rotating blades to convert rotational energy from a wind turbine into heat in a low-heat-capacity fluid. Next, the system selectively transfers the heat from the low-heat-capacity fluid to a working fluid. Finally, the system uses the transferred heat in the working fluid to generate electricity.”

Apple says this “on-demand” electric generation system can cut costs associated with variations in wind supply, and can replace conventional energy storage technologies such as batteries.

In addition to the company’s proposed wind energy storage system, Apple’s renewable energy portfolio also includes fuel cells and solar installations. In late 2012, Apple filed papers with North Carolina’s utilities commission to double the size of its fuel cell installation at its North Carolina data center. It plans to expand capacity from 5 MW of fuel cells, which are now running, to a maximum of 10 MW, biogas-powered fuel cells, and a 20 MW solar system.

The company’s 2012 facilities report said Apple’s other data centers in Austin, Texas; Elk Grove, Calif.; Cork, Ireland; and Munich, Germany are all powered by 100 percent renewable energy, and Apple’s data center in Prineville, Ore. will also be powered using locally sourced renewable power.

 

 



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