Altaeros Energies recently completed tests of a 35-ft scale prototype of its Airborne Wind Turbine (AWT) for remote locations, which will harness energy at altitudes above 1,000 feet.
(Source: Altaeros Energies)
I guess my question is as a high-altitude lightening rod, can the tether handle the current? Heavy-duty ground wire would be a lot of additional weight. The tether is already handling the power generated. And can the ground power receiver distinguish between the two without catastrophe?
Warren, good questions. I also wonder about the tether material and how it handles different voltage levels, as well as the whole ground system for receiving and distributing power. The company says it is looking for partners for commercialization. Perhaps once it gets past this stage we can learn more details.
When you think about the Wind Farms we've seen – rows and rows of gigantic wind turbines in the Southwestern part of the country – I can imagine these things becoming commonplace in the sky – so much so that pilots would have to have them charted;(that shouldn'tbe too cumbersome of a task, considering NASA is tracking 1000's of pieces of space debris).This concept seems financially lucrative and technologically feasible.Two-Thumbs-Up.
At any rate it's a good idea simply because it aims to harvest wind in a location where there is more significant wind than near the ground. I'm also interested to see how things work out with wind harvesting out on the ocean. That's another attempt to get to stronger winds.
That could be, Warren. We'll have to see. You're right about the value of the energy. If it's significant, someone will figure out how to fit the maintenance in. Could be these turbines that go to higher altitudes might make the energy harvesting worth the trouble.
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