High Altitude Wind Power
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Joined: Sep 2010
18-10-2010, 10:15 AM
Wind power has long been touted as a major energy resource, but for decades no one knew how much energy it could actually yield. Then three years ago Stanford University atmospheric scientists Cristina Archer and Mark Jacobson did a detailed calculation based on known patterns of air motion. Using a conservative approach, they counted only the energy that could be generated from winds blowing over land at an altitude of 80 meters, the approximate height of a typical modern wind turbine. Under perfect conditions, the total would be 72 trillion watts.
It is a handsome quantity. In 2007 the entire electrical generating capacity of the United States was just a bit more than 1 trillion watts. But Archer realized that this number barely hints at the potential. Wind speed rises with altitude, and available power rises at the cube of wind speed. This means that 72 trillion watts is a lowball estimate. A few miles up, a turbine blade could generate up to 250 times the energy of the same blade near the ground. The prospect, Archer says, “is just super-incredibly exciting.”
One scheme for harvesting that breezy bounty comes from Bryan Roberts, an engineering professor at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia, and Sky WindPower, the San Diego–based company developing his work. The team is designing kites with rotors that fly helicopter-style to altitudes of a mile or more, where the winds are strongest. Upon arrival, the rotors switch to generating mode, sending current down their tethers, which might be many miles long. When the winds shift, the platoon of kites (called flying electric generators, or FEGs) simply pursue them. Other teams are working on related approaches.
High Altitude Wind Power uses flying electric generator (FEG) technology in the form of what have been more popularly called flying windmills, is a proposed renewable energy project and implimentation over rural or low-populated areas, to produce around 12,000 MW of electricity with only 600 well clustered rotorcraft kites that use only simple autogyro physics to generate far more kinetic energy than a nuclear plant can.According to Sky WindPower; the overuse of fossil fuels and the overabundance of radioactive waste from nuclear energy plants is taking our planet once again down a path of destruction, for something that is more expensive and far more dangerous in the long run. FEG technology is just cheaper, cleaner and can provide more energy than those environmentally unhealthy methods of the past, making it a desirable substitute/alternative.
The secret to functioning High Altitude Wind Power is efficient tether technology that reaches 15,000 feet in the air, far higher than birds will fly, but creating restricted airspace for planes and other aircraft.
The same materials used in the tethers that hold these balloons in place can also hold flying windmills in place; and with energy cable technology getting ever lighter and stronger .Flying windmills appear to be 90 percent more energy efficient in wind tunnel tests than their land-based counterparts; that is three times more efficiency due to simple yet constantly abundant and effective high altitude wind power, available only 15,000 feet in the air by way of clustered rotor craft kites tethered with existing anti-terrorist technologies like those used on the Mexican/American border radar balloons.
High Altitude Wind Power offers itself as a clean and more powerful source of power generation than anything available on-the-grid at present and if Sky WindPower Corp. has their way, FEG technology and flying windmills will take the lead of a more sustainable future within the decade.