Note: This post first appeared on TeamUV.org
Remember those huge wind turbine towers with 3 blades on them? Either standing alone or in a huge field of them? Well these stationary towers could very well get upgraded to float! A company called Altaeros Energies has revolutionized the wind turbine itself from being a structure bolted to the ground to a balloon floating in the air. The company has created a wind turbine that has a helium-filled, inflatable shell that lifts it to high altitudes where winds are stronger and more consistent than what is experienced by the traditional tower-mounted turbines you see today. The company is set to break the world record for the highest wind turbine ever deployed at 300 meters with its next-gen turbine called the BAT (Bouyant Airborne Turbine).
The BAT uses a conventional 3 blade, horizontal wind turbine that is fixed inside the shell. It is held by tethers (cables) that hold the inflatable turbine steady at high altitudes and also transmit electricity to the ground. Ground station controls tether speed and length, and aligns the shell to prevent the tethers from tangling. BAT can generate over twice the energy of similarly rated tower-mounted wind turbines reduces the second largest cost of wind energy (installation and transport) by up to 90%! The entire BAT system can be shipped in 2 containers and can be installed and generating power in under 24 hours and can be monitored remotely.
This is a prime candidate to provide power to countries that require disaster relief or countries requiring power. Who knows, maybe one of these bad boys could be connected to your house instead of solar panels in the future!