3 – 2 – 1 – Blast-off – for Tiwai?
Christchurch, New Zealand – 21st September 2020 – An electric rocket facility based at Tiwai Point, has been put forward as an alternative use for the massive Southland facility, by built environment consultant Nigel Young, of AEDIS Ltd.

Massive capacitors capable of supplying an instant electrical pulse “much like the flash on your camera,” said Young, would be fired at the Moon before a purpose-built rocket would launch, riding the resulting electrical ‘lift’ like a vertical maglev train. “Such a rocket could be used many times, its payload only being limited to the current of the electrical beam.” The capacitors themselves would be fed from equally massive batteries which receive their power directly from Manapōuri Power Station.

“There are a number of ways in which this could be achieved,” said Young, suggesting the electrical beams would lift the rocket beyond the earth’s gravitational pull, from where onboard propulsion would take over to direct its flight path. This would only require the facility to control and direct the rocket into its orbit, using considerably less power and increasing the launch opportunities. “The economics of this approach are very attractive,” he said.

Alternatively, using the beam for the entire process from launch to relaunch via an identical facility on the Moon, would be “economically, the long-term goal,” said Young, with it ‘receiving’ the rocket, drawing it in and turning it around before sending it back to the Tiwai Point facility in the same manner in which it was launched. The Moon facility would ‘receive’ the power beam into huge batteries that would in turn charge identical capacitors, enabling the process to operate in reverse. The upshot of this is that as the capacity of the Moon’s batteries increase, they become sufficiently charged to perform the same thing, returning the rocket to the Tiwai Point launch port. The two electrical beams could meet along the way, thereby both conserving and recycling, while making up for any ‘drop-off’ in intensity as the beam gets closer to the other end. “Think of it as a vertical maglev train, a technology that has been well proven,” he said.

Maglev technology – linear propulsion which uses the principle of opposing magnets to propel a vehicle in a frictionless manner – is not new. German inventor Alfred Zehden was awarded a patent for it as far back as 1905. It’s ‘wheel-less’ nature makes it quiet and vibrationless, reducing both capital outlay and ongoing maintenance costs. The minimal requirements for onboard fuel to power the directional rockets once in orbit, is the only fuel required. “This is as green as rocket technology gets,” Young said, describing it as “the ultimate way to offset our carbon footprint and reduce our green tax liabilities.” Green rockets, economic, recyclable and the ability to reuse an existing facility. The machine shops and the top-grade aluminium from its pot-lines make the whole operation self-sufficient, while retaining the expertise of the skill base that already exists in Invercargill. “New Zealand punching above its weight yet again,” concludes Young.


(511 words)

For more information contact :
Nigel Young
+64 29 777 2137

About AEDIS LTD is the website of 4WALLS Ltd, a Christchurch-based design company intent on addressing the problem of affordable housing in Aotearoa New Zealand. Its goal is to do so through reducing the capital and ongoing costs of the home, while improving both the quality of the build and the quality of life.

AEDIS : Challenging the Built Environment