The powerful typhoons which batter the Japanese coastline each year can be a devastating force of nature, leaving a trail of destruction.
But engineers are trying to tame these Pacific storms by harnessing the power of their winds.
A Japanese inventor has developed a prototype turbine which he claims could gather enough energy from a single typhoon to power Japan for 50 years.
Atsushi Shimizu believes the destructive winds could be harnessed to become a leading source of renewable energy for the country.
Speaking to CNN, the engineer and head of Challenergy, said that the regional storms could provide the answer to Japan’s green-energy needs.
Japan has reverted to fossil fuel based power plants and importing more than 80 per cent of its energy since the devastating Fukushima disaster in 2011 led to the country’s nuclear power stations being taken offline.
According to Shimizu, western wind turbines used in the country are unable to deal with the intense typhoon winds which hit the region each year.
The powerful tropical storms form over the Western Pacific and Indian Oceans. In 2013, Typhoon Haiyan generated winds reaching 315 kilometres per hour (196 mph), devastating the Philippines.
Shimizu told CNN: ‘For decades, Japan has brought in European-style wind turbines, not designed for typhoon zones, and installed them with no careful consideration – they’ve broken almost entirely.’
Instead, the engineer has come up with an upright concept which uses three vertical tube-like turbines attached to a central upright, which spins in the wind.
The inventor, who founded Challenergy, has been developing a prototype of the technology which can withstand the intense winds while generated energy.
While the prototype has yet to reach the 40 per cent efficiency rate of modern turbines, but these traditional propeller-type turbines would likely be destroyed in a typhoon.
Challenergy’s turbines incorporate the Magnus effect, the force which acts on a spinning object and causes it to stray from a straight path.
One of the best examples of this shows is a recent YouTube video showing a spinning basketball dropping from a height.
Adjusting the tightness of the central rod provides more control over how fast the blades spin, ensuring they don’t over-spin and break during typhoon-speed winds.
Japan has experience a number of typhoons already in 2016, so Shimizu hopes that the prototypes could lead the country to become a ‘superpower’ when it comes to wind energy.
‘Our generation reaped the benefit of nuclear power — we never experience a power black out because of it,’ Shimizu told CNN. ‘Now we are responsible for changing the future.’