J.D. Right on most counts, but the more stable and constant wind is often a lot higher than 500 feet. So the airborne generating system will indeed need to go much higher. But presently there are no-fly zones and aviation gets along with that quite well. In addition, putting them up at 2000 feet or maybe 2500 will keep that noise that people complain about away. I approached a large windmill a while back and could not hear any sound at about a hundred yards, so I do wonder what the folks are hearing. Plus they will be a bit more out of sight so that people won't be looking at them, and probably higher than most birds fly, which should reduce the bird impacts. So a lighter and much larger airborn system, like was described a year back, or so, is indeed probably a better choice. BUT now for a temporary emergency generating system the one in the writeup might be good. AND yes, use hydrogen instead of helium. When thye helium is gone there isn't any more. It's GONE.
Quite a concept, I wonder about how frequect the helium refills will be needed, though. And just like that flying gereator platform that we read about a year ago, bringing power down to the ground is a challenge. To keep the conductors light the voltage goes up, which then dmands separated conductors, and now there is a challenge of keeping them separate. I wonder how the other project is working, and it will be very interesting to see if this project scales up nicely.
Interesting article...This prototype is designed for 30 kW of generation. Will the final product be larger? The cost per kWh might be prohibitive at this size?
Another commenter mentions, "which captures much energy [as] than the ones we already have". I do not know where he got this information since I could not find it in the article. Commercial wind turbines in service by utilities produce about 1.3 MW each, or about 43 times as much.
I assume High-Altitude winds remain uni-directional for the most part. Turning and controlling for changing directions, if needed, might be a challenge using long tethers.
I'll be interested to learn more about this project...
No kidding 78RPM, 2000' AGL is a pretty good cruising altitude for General Aviation. The balloon would be easy enough to see and avoid in VFR conditions, but the wing-shredding guy wires would be rather frightening, after all, how far would it drift? There was a recent accident where a helicopter was clear of a tower, but clipped a guy wire killing all on board. There aren't too many places with towers that tall, but I always give them a very wide berth. I refer to them as "friendly towers" because they just want to reach up and give your aircraft a big hug.
These are great questions, NadineJ. I don't have answers to them at the moment but the company plans to stay in touch with me as they test and have other news to share. This is definitely a great idea with lots of potential, but there is still a lot to be proven here to see if this will really work.
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