Balloon Lifted Wind Turbines

The new technology being developed by Altaeros Energies can only be called floating wind turbines. This is a balloon that picks up a wind turbine to deliver power where it is needed. Altaeros is headed by Ben Glass, its CEO and an inventor and the guy who conceptualized the possibilities of an airship technology to bear aloft a wind turbine.

Majority of wind turbine producers are attempting to manufacture towering turbines to harness the power of the wind above 150 meters (500 feet) or more. Altaeros, however, has gone much higher with the BAT or its ingenuous Buoyant Airborne Turbine.

The BAT can attain a height of 600 meters or 2,000 feet. At this elevation, wind is stronger and faster, thus the BAT can produce electricity twice as much as a tower-mounted turbine of the same category.

The basic enabling technologies of the BAT include an innovative aerodynamic design, an ingenious control system and customized composite materials. It has a helium-inflatable shell that siphons wind through a lightweight wind turbine as well as self-stabilizes and generates buoyancy and aerodynamic lift. The BAT is held in place by numerous high-strength harnesses where one of the harnesses has conductive capability to transmit electricity to a mobile ground station.

The automated control system of the BAT guarantees efficient and safe operation, with the capacity to adjust elevation on its own for maximum power output as a major innovation. The initial BAT model is around 15 meters by 15 meters. It does not need a foundation or crane to install and is containerized.

Generators fueled by diesel are the typical power generators in off-grid and the rural areas. But the delivery cost of diesel to these far flung locations is costly. Because of this, even if diesel generators are cheap to install, maintaining and operating them can be very expensive.

This results to remote customers normally paying 30 cents more of per kilowatt-hour power.  The BAT has the capability to provide affordable electricity generated from wind power to remote industries and communities. The initial BAT model is capable of providing electricity to a small community of about a dozen homes.

Because of the considerable increases in power output and the capability to set up the unit within a day or in 24hours, to a large extent the BAT can cut down the cost of electricity and the delivery time of the energy needs of the customer. The future plans of Altaeros include the deployment of the BAT in the company of emergency first responders in situations when access to the electric grid is not available.

Photo Credit: lazzo51 via Compfight cc


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