Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tallest Wind Turbine Ever Will Float Above Alaska

How tall you ask?  How about one thousand feet?!

At that height the wind blows uninterrupted. But a tower that height that free stands is much too large. So what do you do?—you float the generator in a giant helium balloon. The world's first floating commercial wind turbine will soon be hovering over Fairbanks, Alaska.

Altaeros Energies is  developing the Airborne Wind Turbine. It consists of a series of helium-filled bladders that surround a central turbine. The turbine's shape ensures that it consistently faces the wind and the entire assembly is anchored to the ground via an electrically-conductive tether. Since the AWT doesn't rely on propellers or mechanical processes to stay aloft, it can remain in the air for much longer and at a greatly reduced cost.

From the Article:

  • Altaeros has successfully tested a 35-foot scale prototype in Limestone, Maine, in which the aereostat autonomously climbed to 350 feet. Using its Southwest Skystream turbine, it produced twice as much power at altitude as it did at ground level, and then landed.

When  the platform is scaled up to reach altitudes of over 1000 feet the wind speeds are five times faster than on the ground and can generate over 20 times the power.  If it works, Altaeros believes it can cut the cost of energy production by 65 percent.

Check out the Gizmodo article here

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