To the Heights to Reap the Whirlwind

Wednesday 4th July 2012

A wind energy company formed out of MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Altaeros Energies, is reaping the whirlwind, as it were, by prospecting for their source energy where they know there is plenty - at high altitude.

They recently completed testing of their 35 foot scale prototype Altaeros Airborne Wind Turbine in Maine, USA. The Wind Turbine climbed to 350 feet, produced some power at that height before landing as part of an automated cycle.

The airship, that’s what it appears to be, lifted a commercially available turbine and produced over twice the power at altitude compared to the normal tower height of a turbine.

Of course this was a test of a prototype and they must have a long way to go - well surely a lot further than 350 feet?

Altaeros’ aim is to reduce energy costs by up to 65 percent by harnessing the stronger winds found at over 1000 feet, plus it is hoped that the ‘balloon’ will have little environmental or noise impact, requiring minimal maintenance. It will be targeted at remote industrial, military and rural sites removing the need for reliance on expensive diesel generators.

I guess they will also have the added benefit of acting as Blimps at military sites to protect against air attack!

This solution could provide cheap power, more or less anywhere it can be delivered, inflated and launched, but the cost of the power lead must be huge!

Categories: General, Renewable, Technology

Wednesday 4th July 2012


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