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Helium-Filled Wind Turbine Harvests High-Altitude Energy
3/31/2014

A company spun off from MIT research called Altaeros Energies has designed a helium-filled wind turbine that floats above the ground and harnesses high-altitude winds.  (Source: Altaeros Energies)
A company spun off from MIT research called Altaeros Energies has designed a helium-filled wind turbine that floats above the ground and harnesses high-altitude winds.
(Source: Altaeros Energies)

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Elizabeth M
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The new direction in turbines is up
Elizabeth M   3/31/2014 6:09:24 AM
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I think this is quite an ingenious new direction to take wind turbines as there is a lot of energy to be harvested from winds at high altitudes. If this technology proves itself it could be a real breakthrough for places where there is not a lot of ground space for turbines, but there is still quite a bit of wind. I will be curious to see how it fares in the Alaska test.

78RPM
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Aircraft
78RPM   3/31/2014 2:10:16 PM
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I wonder how they will keep airplanes from hitting the tethers as they might be hard to see. It would be good if they could put a net on both ends of the tunnel to prevent bird deaths. Some birds fly that high.

I also wonder about the vector of force on the tethers at such high angles of elevation. As wind speed increases, the altitude of the turbine would decrease leaving the leeward tethers hanging slack. But I'm sure they have thought this out.

NadineJ
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Re: Aircraft
NadineJ   3/31/2014 6:20:59 PM
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You're right.  I'm sure they've worked it out.  An internship at SpaceX is a great way to learn how to solve problems that others are afraid to approach. 

NadineJ
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Platinum
Re: The new direction in turbines is up
NadineJ   3/31/2014 6:24:58 PM
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Many areas in the world are remote, windy and have no fossil fuels. 

According to the video on their site, this generates twice the power of regular wind turbines.  How does the cost compare?  Currently, wind is more expensive than solar.  All clean sources are more expensive than dirty, in dollars anyway.

If it works, will companies and governments invest?

shehan
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Gold
Re: The new direction in turbines is up
shehan   3/31/2014 9:53:47 PM
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Wow great idea to have a floating turbine which captures much energy than the ones we already have. Thanks for the great post

shehan
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Re: The new direction in turbines is up
shehan   3/31/2014 9:58:32 PM
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@Elizabeth – yes it's a good way to capture some energy where there is very less land space. 

shehan
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Re: Aircraft
shehan   3/31/2014 10:00:35 PM
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@78RPM – yes im sure they have some solutions for this. For planes and other flying objects you could have a flashing light to indicate there is obstruction ahead. 

shehan
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Re: Aircraft
shehan   3/31/2014 10:02:01 PM
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@78RPM I am not quite sure how they have control of the altitude problem of the turbine as wind speed increase.  

shehan
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Re: Aircraft
shehan   3/31/2014 10:03:02 PM
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@NadineJ – yes most companies don't come up with such innovative ideas, we could easily harvest some good renewable energy. 

shehan
User Rank
Gold
Re: The new direction in turbines is up
shehan   3/31/2014 10:04:53 PM
NO RATINGS
@NadineJ- a good way of saying it "all clean sources are more expensive than dirty". This might defiantly cost more as we are talking about a floating turbine. 

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