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Will Man-Made Tornadoes Power Our Homes Someday?

Louis Michaud invented the atmospheric vortex engine as a way of creating controlled, man-made tornadoes.
Credit Scott Gries / National Geographic Channels

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A scientist in Canada has come up with a novel way to possibly produce low-cost energy: man-made tornadoes. Louis Michaud has built machines that create twisters, though the tornadoes aren’t big enough and well contained enough for his purposes, according to National Geographic. To power entire communities, it would take a strong vortex—100 feet) wide and 8 miles tall. At the top, Michaud would place a turbine that would collect the energy. He envisions funneling waste heat from a power plant, for example, into tornadoes. Crazy as it sounds, this idea is feasible. And it could be one way to provide clean energy to communities with cheap, freely available fuel.

Michaud estimates that the project take about $1 billion in development funds. "This has got to be a group effort," he says. A vortex engine built at maximum capacity could provide enough energy to power hundreds of thousands of homes.