If you are sick of Apple ruling at everything, you can stop reading now. But if you’d like to hear about how they’re working to harness one of nature’s cleanest, most plentiful resources, continue. Because Apple is now branching out from making shiny objects that ruin/enhance your social life, and has come up with a neat way to store energy created by windmills.
Here’s the problem with wind: Sometimes there is a lot of it, sometimes, there is not. Without a good storage mechanism, wind turbines are only useful when it’s actively windy. That’s what Apple is working on. Instead of immediately taking energy generated by the blades and creating electricity from it, they are storing this energy as heat. Here’s how they described it in their 2011 patent application:
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.
Basically, they use the wind turbine to heat up a fluid, then use that heat energy to create electricity when it’s required. We’re pretty sure you don’t have to understand the technology beyond that, any more than you have to understand how your iPod works. But rest assured — just as Apple has taken over the land, they will soon also be masters of the wind.
Get Grist in your inbox