[CHALLENGE 4c1a1]: A 10KWatt Home Tornado Generator

This is Challenge 4c1a1 from 4c1a: The renewable energy designs of physicist Carl Johnson



Note: All our challenges are collaborative. Skype, email or contact us if you want to work with us in real-time! Let’s make a better world for everyone together! gien@stopresetgo.org

Main reference page is from Carl Johnson’s Artificial Tornado page

Carl verified how water spouts and tornados form in his series of experiments and he concludes that the conditions for their formation are:

  1. warm water
  2. colder air (10 Deg F colder than the water)
  3. humid air
  4. still air

Water heated by the sun contains heat energy. when it evaporates and rises, ascending into a column of cold air, at a certain height, it hits the dew point, a temperature cold enough to cause the gasous form of water to condense out into liquid droplets. When it condenses out, it releases a large amount of energy due to the latent heat of condensation. This energy, as Carl has observed with hundreds of mini tornados he has created in his experiments, expresses itself as vortex of moving water particles.

"*In early 2010, I did a variety of experiments in creating a number of 50-Watt miniature tornadoes, and I slightly ionized several of them, and I generated just under one Watt of electricity (in very crude experiments). One of my artificial tornadoes of March 2010 operated constantly and continuously for slightly over two hours before I ended the experiment. It seemed clear to me that I could have had that mini-tornado continue spinning for weeks or possibly forever. It remained surprisingly constant in diameter, shape, spin speed and height during that two-hour experiment, and during the other experiments of those months. Due to safety precautions, I restricted the energy supply to around 1/20 horsepower in all my experiments.

WARM DAMP GROUND or puddles or a warm shallow lake is REQUIRED. A very warm area of open ocean is also fine. This actually provides ALL the energy which is used in forming the tornado, waterspout or hurricane.

It is critically important that the damp land or water be around 10°F to 12°F warmer than the air immediately above it. That air must also have rather high humidity, which naturally occurs due to the warm water immediately below it. The air also needs to be relatively motionless, in a near Calm. The common assumption that there must be circulatory motion in the air is wrong, at least as shown by my experimental results.

The warm water now evaporates, especially in the presence of sunlight (or, in my experiments in my basement [where absolutely calm air could be ensured], a 50-Watt electric heating pad under a shallow pan of water). Each pound of water that evaporates from the puddle, lake or ocean takes nearly 1000 Btus (or 0.3 KiloWatt-hours) of Latent Energy up away from the water, due to the Change of State from water to water vapor. If a pound of water evaporates every two minutes, that is around 9 kWh of power which has been extracted from the water. By choice, the 50-Watt heat power supply I used limited my experiments to only being able to evaporate a maximum of about three ounces of water per hour, an interestingly small amount! Only moderate heating of the water pond was necessary to create this rate of evaporation.

This water vapor now SLOWLY rises into the slightly cooler local air.

The fact that this (saturated) water vapor is immediately in air which is significantly cooler than it is, means that it had dropped below its Dewpoint. This immediately causes some of the water vapor to now condense into tiny water droplets, as fog or mist a few inches above the surface. This has to occur when the water vapor has dropped below its Dewpoint, where the local humidity needs to go above 100%. This is another Phase Change, back to water, which now releases that 1000 Btus of energy (per pound of water). In my mini-tornado experiments, around half of the humidity I had just created commonly promptly condensed into fog droplets, which therefore released around 25 Watts of Most of the rest of the energy remained as evaporated water, or humidity.

This large new supply of energy cannot disappear (Conservation of Energy, which is also called the First Law of Thermodynamics), and it cannot easily convert into any form except Kinetic Energy. A small fraction of this new Kinetic Energy generally goes into causing the air column to rise, which occurs relatively slowly. (In my experiments, often only two to three Watts of power was carried away in this way).

The great majority of the newly created Kinetic Energy can only be converted into (counter-clockwise) rotary motion of the vortex of air. For a 30-foot (10-meter) tall vortex which averages one-foot (1/3-meter) in diameter, there is around 5 pounds (2 kg) of water droplets, water vapor and air spinning. Rotational Inertia is therefore around 0.15 kg-m2. The energy supply of 9 kW per hour is the same as 2.5 Watts per second. Using standard rotary energy formulas, this results in an angular velocity of about 40 radians per second or about 400 rpm for the induced vortex rotation. It is actually faster than this due to dynamic effects of the continuous addition of power from below and various frictional losses within the vortex. These numbers are just to show that a small-solar-pond-heated vortex actually does contain a good deal of energy and power.

Careful Energy Audits have confirmed that this sequence of events accounts for all the energy and the air velocities, for small vortices like I have studied for many years. My experiments have permitted good analysis of the dimensions, rotary velocities and vertical rise rates of the air, water vapor and fog droplets in the vortices, where Energy Conservation has been confirmed. This seems to also be true for the EARLY stages of tornadoes, waterspouts and hurricanes. (Once the larger vortices develop, they create larger convective vertical motions of surrounding air, which causes the air right near the surface to become even cooler, which causes this sequence to have even more Change of State Energy to work with, and so later growth in large scale vortices is somewhat enhanced from the very early stages described here.


Activity: Global brainstorm session and begin initial design

The Cape Town team of IFL / SRG will be researching and building small scale pilot tornado generator. Carl cannot build it himself due to his age but is happy to guide us with his years of insight on his designs.

The principle of harness the spinning vortex is via impinging a regular ultraviolet grow lamp onto the vortex which ionize the particles.Stator windings around a silo-type housing structure turns it into a dynamo. Housing the tornado inside a mechanically sound silo is necessary for safety, especially for a 10KWatt design. Stage one will be to build a prototype the size that Carl built to verify the effect for ourselves…probably a 50Watt unit that might generate 1 Watt electrical power output.


  • industrial design
  • engineering - hardware, software, mechanical
  • renewable energy
  • physics
  • chemistry
  • computer simulation and modeling
  • applied mathematics