TVNZ Sunday: Generating carbon free electricity from a vortex – a natural phenomenon replicated.

April 29, 2024

Over a decade ago, the idea that is at the heart of Vortex Power Systems of generating carbon-free electricity from a vortex was just that—an idea. Now, we have built the first pilot plant of its kind in the world and are on the precipice of proving the technology works at scale. TVNZ Sunday came and took a look.

Explaining the technology to reporter Tania Paige, VPS Chief Scientific Officer, Professor Richard Flay said “We’re going to produce a vortex, and after proving that we will produce electricity.

It will be the tallest manmade thing on the planet I guess, depending on the atmospheric conditions it could be several [maybe 5] kilometres tall. The taller the better.  

The core ingredient of the vortex, the warm water being sprayed in, will come from industrial waste. “There’s a huge amount of waste around the planet. All of the power plants around theworld are producing waste heat and at the moment its being dumped into the sea, rivers or cooling towers. The potential market for this technology is signficant.

This is the first pilot plant of its kind in the world, and it's going well, but as we expected there have been challenges.

"We are close.The swirl vanes are ready to go and we’re just testing a few more systems. There’s quite a bit of trial and error, no one else has ever tried to mount a ring of [12sails] in a field to replicate a natural phenomenon. But we wouldn’t be doing all of this if we weren’t fairly confident”.

The team from Vortex want to thank TVNZ Sunday for their focus on the deep tech sector in New Zealand.  [Deep tech] requires big money and big risks, but its this kind of innovative thinking and disruptive technology that could propel our economy into the future.

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