Electronics favorite Apple could be about to follow Google into the wind energy sector.
The company plans to develop a wind turbine that generates electricity from stored wind energy, according to tech blog AppleInsider.
The technology giant has filed an application with the US Patent and Trademark Office, proposing a system that generates electricity by converting heat energy, rather than the rotational energy, created by the movement of a turbine’s blades.
“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,” says the application. “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.”
According to the company, the ‘on-demand’ electric generation system could alleviate the problem of intermittency and cut the costs associated with variations in wind supply.
And this won’t be Apple’s first foray into renewables. The company’s current renewable energy portfolio already includes numerous fuel cells and solar installations.
Late last year, it announced plans to double the size of its fuel cell installation at its North Carolina data center. The fuel cells use methane from a nearby landfill as a feedstock.
Apple also owns and operates a 20MW solar farm in North Carolina for the same data center, which is the largest end-user-owned on-site solar array in the US.
And the company’s data centers in Austin, Texas; Elk Grove, California; Cork, Ireland; and Munich, Germany are all powered by 100% renewable energy.