Latent Power Turbines - Latest research update

      Add to your calendar Last updated - 11/01/2017 14:46

Technical lecture
14 March 2017 18:00 - 20:00
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Back in the nineteen sixties, Bill Courtney studied thermodynamics at university and meteorology as a hobby. His lecturers and thermodynamics textbooks taught him that the laws of thermodynamics prevented fuel burning power stations from being more than about 50% efficient, with the residual heat commonly being dumped into the atmosphere at about 30oC via cooling towers. But this clashed with his understanding of tropical hurricanes that generated ferrous amounts of kinetic energy, running on moist tropical air at about 28oC. His challenge that, “If nature can run heat engines efficiently at hurricane birth temperatures, why can’t we?” was dismissed as a nonsensical by his lecturers and fellow students.

Some years later, Bill had an epiphany moment in the mountains. He was crossing the Bionnassay glacier on the flanks of Mont-Blanc, crampons on feet and ice axe in hand but stripped to the waist because the Foehn wind coming down from the cold snow fields above was too hot for comfort. This reinforced his suspicions that nature acted in a counter-intuitive manner that humanity could harness, if only we were prepared to open our minds.

When he met a like minded engineer, Dick West, they founded Latent Power Turbines Ltd, to explore new ways of imitating nature, to generate electricity. Their early work at Lancaster University led to a proposal for a novel thermodynamic cycle that predicted the possibility of converting heat at hurricane birth temperatures into electricity.

With the aid of Innovate UK funding, C-Tech Innovation Ltd have built a test rig to test the plausibility of the new thermodynamic cycle. The outcomes of this project were in line with predictions, but funding limitations meant that a very crude turbine rotor had to be used, instead of a purpose made turbine. This design weakness resulted in a low power output.

Funding bids permitting, the next round of Latent Power Turbine research is scheduled to take place at the University of Central Lancashire, UCLAN, where there is turbine design expertise. The work will involve the installation of a bespoke turbine rotor, with the aim of generating a net output of power, while simultaneously cooling the air in the laboratory.

During the talk, the thermodynamic cycle and research results to date will be explained. The Latent Power Turbine concept is so radically different to existing power generator designs that there is scope for the audience to make original contributions during the course of the evening. The speaker will welcome this.


During the talk, the Latent Power Turbine thermodynamic cycle and research results to date will be explained. Speaker: Bill Courtney Latent Power Turbines Ltd


Manchester Metropolitan University
John Dalton Building
Chester street
M1 5GD
United Kingdom

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United Kingdom
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