Altaeros Energies’ Inflatable Turbine Soars
Alternative energy sources are a good investment for the future. Potential oil scarcity aside, most alternative energy sources are green, which means less junk in the air to fuel worries about global warming. Fewer pollutants also mean fewer respiratory health problems. We recently covered a new solar energy solution and today we’ll look at a novel approach for wind turbines.
Even before Don Quixote tilted at them, windmills have been producing energy. Wind turbines are just an old idea with a new look. The Netherlands have been erecting turbines for the last few years, hoping to hit their goal of creating 9% of the total energy needs of the country.
An obvious potential problem for wind turbines is similar to one shared by solar energy. If the sun doesn’t shine, you don’t get much juice. For turbines, if the wind doesn’t blow–or blows gently for too long–you don’t get any power. Massachusetts-based Altaeros Energies has devised a potential solution to this problem with an inflatable turbine.
The company has recently tested the idea with the help of a 35-ft. prototype of the Airborne Wind Turbine (AWT). The prototype was launched up to 350 ft. (more than twice the height of most ground-based turbines) with the help of a towable docking trailer.
For decades, wind turbines have required cranes and huge towers to lift a few hundred feet off the ground where winds can be slow and gusty. We are excited to demonstrate that modern inflatable materials can lift wind turbines into more powerful winds almost everywhere—with a platform that is cost competitive and easy to setup from a shipping container. – Ben Glass, the inventor of the AWT and Altaeros CEO
With a successful test completed, the company will go back to work on designing AWTs that can reach 1000 ft. to catch more powerful winds. According to the company, use of an AWT can reduce energy costs by up to 65%.
Below you’ll find a video about the about the AWTs test flight.
Source: Altaeros Energies