Unique invention on display at Peter White Public Library
MARQUETTE — The inventor called it “something out of Jules Verne,” and the Solar Vortex Generator — its official name — really does look like it came from a science fiction novel.
However, the man who created it, 68-year-old Earl Senchuk, believes it has a practical purpose: cleaner energy.
Senchuk’s blog gave this description of the SVG: “An eccentrically positioned cone-shaped structure having a tall stack that is elevated above an extended, downwardly sloped translucent surface constructed upon a subsurface perimeter, and having stacked, internal, centrally positioned rotatable vanes and concentrically, and equally spaced internal air deflectors located under and within the second step of the cone perimeter.
“An iris, similar in operation to a camera lens, sits atop the stack to control outflow. Pivotal air flow gate restrictors are positioned within the portals created by the vortex actuators.”
If that’s hard to understand, perhaps this is a simpler explanation: The SVG is similar to aiming a water hose at an angle into the cone of a funnel to create a hollow vortex. By doing so, rising, solar-heated air can be forced into a manageable vortex within which a generator can be immersed to produce low-cost, carbon-free electrical energy.
A miniature version of the SVG is on display this month in the Huron Mountain Club Gallery at the Peter White Public Library.
“Basically, it’s like taking windmill turbines,” Senchuk said. “Throw away the tower. Just take the propeller, simply the propeller dramatically and then impact the blades perpendicularly.”
With the SVG, which has six patents pending, he’s running multiple turbines and the same air is hitting all those turbines.
“I don’t know how much that increases the efficiency, but that’s where research is going to come into play and then I’ll find out,” Senchuk said.
As the sun rises, the SVG is designed for sunlight to hit perpendicularly all the way around, he said.
So that means it’s latitude-dependent. In fact, the model at the PWPL, he noted, is designed for the 27th Parallel.
“That’s like very south in the United States and central Australia, and that’s two hot spots,” Senchuk said. “That whole area between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn is where all your deserts are, and that’s where there happens to be a lot of population of the world. So, this thing could provide electricity for a lot more people that can’t get it now.”
The SVG, he stressed, doesn’t generate electricity; it generates a vortex. But with that vortex, electricity can be generated through the turbines.
“And it multiplies itself,” Senchuk said. “It uses the same air multiple times.”
The SVG at the PWPL is small, with an actual SVG having to be much larger.
He acknowledged on his blog, however, that he considers the SVG still to be a raw concept, leaving room for improvement.
How does the SVG work at night?
Adjacent to the SVG would lie an array of flat black, rubber-like bladders or oblong-shaped metal tanks filled with water, all on a black surface and contained in a separate greenhouse with little or no ventilation.
In this setup, a black surface absorbs the sun’s rays during the daytime and heats the water inside. Before dusk, the water in the bladders or tanks is pumped to a large, underground tank buried within a hill under the SVG. Radiators are mounted inside and under the transparent solar collection canopy above the black surface. As day turns to night and the asphalt has rendered its heat energy, the water stored inside the insulated tank begins to cycle through the radiators, giving off the stored heat energy of the water over the course of the dark hours.
By morning, the water is pumped back outside to refill the black bladders. The cycle repeats daily.
Through the night, the buoyancy force due to the wide temperature differential is maintained within the SVG by means of balancing heat energy stored in the water with the considerable drop in temperature that’s normal with the nighttime desert environment. The heat energy would diminish through the night.
It’s an ambitious project. So, how would the SVG be financed?
“I’ve got to get to Bill Gates,” Senchuk said.
The Microsoft co-founder, along with his wife, runs the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The foundation’s vision parallels his outlook.
“He wants to develop energy for Third World countries and clean up the atmosphere,” Senchuk said. “And that’s the beauty of this thing, because we’re dealing with heated air. Heated air is more reactive than regular air, and it’s coming in contact with a huge amount of surface area.”
With that in mind, people would have the capability of chemically extracting carbon dioxide and getting rid of pollutants as well, he said.
“This thing has a twofold purpose: not only generating electricity but cleaning up the atmosphere as well,” Senchuk said.
Senchuk also is spearheading “Eclectricity V” in the Huron Mountain Club Gallery, which along with this SVG model includes unusual pieces of art.
According to the PWPL website at www.pwpl.info, the April exhibit is an “exciting innovation in both art and invention.” The display is sponsored by the Marquette Arts and Culture Center with the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.
Senchuk pulled together artists who he believed had unique capabilities.
Stella Larkin of Marquette was one of those artists, and her work definitely is not your typical watercolor art. In fact, it’s not watercolor at all but creations — with bottle caps.
“I like the texture of the bottle caps with the texture like this,” said Larkin, whose depiction — in this case of a fish, which in reality has scales — was an effective subject of her unique work.
For more details on the SVG, visit Senchuk’s blog at www.earlsenchuk.com/ the-solar-vortex-generator/.
Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.