To make wind energy a reality in more places, the key is to get up to higher altitudes. While the wind may be light or non-existent in some areas near the ground, go us a few hundred feet and it’s almost always present at higher speeds.
To take advantage of this fact, Altaeros Energies is among companies developing floating wind turbines. It’s essentially a balloon that supports a wind turbine which can be easily moved to different locations and altitudes.
Altaeros Energies is led by Ben Glass the inventor and CEO of the young company. A recent report from the National Science Foundation (NSF) highlights this most recent innovation in clean ‘green’ energy.
Dubbed the Buoyant Airborne Turbine, a.k.a. the BAT, this innovative wind turbine can be set as high as reach 2,000 feet. That’s nearly 4 times higher than ground-based wind turbines, and at these altitudes the winds are much stronger.
“The new products being developed by the team at Altaeros are exciting because they have the potential to offer a new method for energy generation which is portable, reliable, quick to deploy, and environmentally-friendly,” said Ben Schrag, NSF SBIR program director. “This technology has the potential to avoid many of the key challenges facing traditional wind turbines.”
The BAT’s design incorporates helium-inflatable shell that channels wind through a lightweight wind turbine. According to the company, the shell self-stabilizes and produces aerodynamic lift, in addition to buoyancy.
The company uses multiple high-strength tethers to hold the BAT in place plus a single conductive tether that transmits power to a mobile ground station.