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Wind turbine blimp aims to replace diesel generators
Yahoo ^ | 4/20/12 | Randy Nelson - Tecca

Posted on 04/20/2012 3:53:08 PM PDT by NormsRevenge

Look, up in the sky! It's a bird… it's a plane… it's a… wind turbine? Altaeros Energies, a Massachusetts-based company formed by MIT and Harvard grads, has aimed high — literally — in its quest to deliver power to remote, off-the-grid locations, creating a blimp that harnesses the power of the wind at 1,000 feet up.

The prototype, seen in this video, is a large helium-filled shell that looks almost like a jet engine (or, as we suspect more than a few people thought when it was tested in Maine earlier this year, a UFO). Attached to a trailer on the ground, it automatically deploys itself 1,000 feet in the air (350 feet for its inaugural test flight) where a fan at its center is turned by the wind. At this altitude, the wind is not only stronger than at ground level, but also much steadier, resulting in twice the energy production of a traditional, pole-mounted turbine.

The electricity generated by the turbine is sent down to the trailer via the tether cables, where it can be used to power remote villages, military outposts, or anywhere that would normally have to depend on polluting diesel generators. When it's not in use, it can be automatically reeled in.

(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Government; Your Opinion/Questions
KEYWORDS: blimp; dieselgenerators; replace; windturbine
No joyriding!
1 posted on 04/20/2012 3:53:09 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
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There’s a lot of money flying around in the unharnessed wind market or so I hear.. including some of yours.. ;-]


2 posted on 04/20/2012 3:54:56 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
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To: NormsRevenge

“resulting in twice the energy production of a traditional, pole-mounted turbine.”

Would adding a pole dancer make it more competitive?


3 posted on 04/20/2012 4:01:57 PM PDT by Jack Hydrazine (It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine!)
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To: NormsRevenge
"..it can be used to power remote villages, military outposts, or anywhere that would normally have to depend on polluting diesel generators..."

Except when the wind isn't blowing.

4 posted on 04/20/2012 4:01:59 PM PDT by Paladin2
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To: NormsRevenge

I don’t know what the cost of this system would be, but it does make some sense in that the blimp could be raised or lowered into wind streams.
Terra fixed turbines are at the mercy of wind conditions on the ground.


5 posted on 04/20/2012 4:05:29 PM PDT by mylife (The Roar Of The Masses Could Be Farts)
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To: NormsRevenge
I'd rather have a powdered coal fueled diesel. At least you can count on it, if you can keep it in working order and have coal.

/johnny

6 posted on 04/20/2012 4:06:44 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: NormsRevenge

Wind is never a problem with one of these since it can be attached to a truck and pulled around.


7 posted on 04/20/2012 4:07:04 PM PDT by palmer (Before reading this post, please send me $2.50)
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To: NormsRevenge
Some of the operating costs could be offset with advertising ☺


8 posted on 04/20/2012 4:09:17 PM PDT by mylife (The Roar Of The Masses Could Be Farts)
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach; Rurudyne; steelyourfaith; Tolerance Sucks Rocks; xcamel; AdmSmith; ...

Thanks NormsRevenge.

Popular Science publishes something about this or something very like it every few years, presumably when the (alleged) brains behind this operation starts making the rounds again. “Future airborne wind turbines could spin with greater gusto in the faster winds found at high altitudes, and send power back to Earth...”

Blimp Power
Alternative-energy firm starts testing its innovative airborne wind turbines
By Gregory Mone Posted 05.13.2008
http://www.popsci.com/environment/article/2008-05/blimp-power


9 posted on 04/20/2012 4:09:17 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (FReepathon 2Q time -- https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/)
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To: palmer

LOL!


10 posted on 04/20/2012 4:10:10 PM PDT by mylife (The Roar Of The Masses Could Be Farts)
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To: NormsRevenge
"So there I was, sitting out by the pool watching the kids swim, when this shadow approached. Soon I could see it, this huge blimp-like thing trailing two black cables that were dragging on the ground. Sparks flew from where ever they touched. I screamed for the kids to get out of the pool but it was too late. There was a huge flash and then a stark silence. I will remember it as long as I live."

The plot of a bad horror flick? Perhaps, but I hope the team working on the fail-safe design have such an imagination.

11 posted on 04/20/2012 4:17:36 PM PDT by NonValueAdded (Steyn: Obama sez: "Nice little Supreme Court you got here. Shame if anything were to happen to it.")
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To: palmer
Wind is never a problem with one of these since it can be attached to a truck and pulled around.

Now that, is some of the whitiest sarcasm I've seen in a while.

Well done!

12 posted on 04/20/2012 4:19:03 PM PDT by Las Vegas Ron (Rush Limbaugh = the Beethoven of talk radio - http://www.istandwithrush.org/)
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To: NormsRevenge
Altaeros Energies says that while the power its blimp provides costs more than getting it from the grid, it's actually more affordable than from generators that require a constant supply of gasoline, not to mention greener.

Assuming, of course, the wind is blowing. And therein lies the number one problem with wind turbines: there's no easy, cost effective, way to store the output. Solar panels have the same problem at night.

Personally I think all this "green" alternative power stuff is sorta cool. Just don't use my tax dollars to fund it.

13 posted on 04/20/2012 4:19:25 PM PDT by upchuck (Need is not an acceptable lifestyle choice; dependent is not a career. ~ Dr. Tim Nerenz)
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To: NormsRevenge
Photobucket

Wind power, the clean energy!

14 posted on 04/20/2012 4:23:14 PM PDT by Clay Moore (The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of a fool to the left. Ecclesiastes 10:2)
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To: Paladin2
"Except when the wind isn't blowing."

And nobody steals the copper wiring on the ground.

15 posted on 04/20/2012 4:26:32 PM PDT by almost done by half
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To: SunkenCiv

In the late 70s Peabody Coal Co. had an idea to use a balloon to hold the electric cables going to the shovel. It did not last long, as the weather took it out. I expect the same to happen here.


16 posted on 04/20/2012 4:29:42 PM PDT by taterjay
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To: taterjay
" It did not last long"

Or
"Betcha a beer you couldn't hit that there blimp thingy." Aims rifle.

17 posted on 04/20/2012 4:38:23 PM PDT by Deaf Smith
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To: upchuck
Personally I think all this "green" alternative power stuff is sorta cool. Just don't use my tax dollars to fund it.

It is cool technology. And when faced with US$20K to run power to my shack in NM, US$6K didn't seem so bad. The ROI numbers changed quickly.

As for your second point.... AMEN! NO TAX DOLLARS! SINK OR SWIM.

Solar makes sense in some cases. My shack in the mountains was one.

Here in suburbia? Oh heck no!

I couldn't make payments on a 2% loan for what I pay TXU for 'lektrikity.

/johnny

18 posted on 04/20/2012 4:39:04 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: NormsRevenge

I can envison one of these things break loose in high winds, continuing to generate electricity as it loses altitude and discharge its’ load on whatever(or whoever)unfortunate enough to come into contact with it’s dragging cable line.

An mobile electric chair, if you may.


19 posted on 04/20/2012 4:41:05 PM PDT by RedMonqey (Men who will not suffer to self govern, will suffer under the governance of lesser men.)
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To: Deaf Smith
Passes over beer.

/johnny

20 posted on 04/20/2012 4:41:38 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Gone Galt)
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To: Paladin2
“Except when the wind isn't blowing.”

I have the pleasure of operating a tethered balloon system in Afghanistan.

It won't only be when the wind isn't blowing, but, when the wind is blowing too hard.

Said balloon will have to be moored due to instability in high winds. Also, rain will cause too much of a positive pitch due to extra weight on the stabilizers, disrupting air flow through the turbine shaped balloon. Lightning in the area will necessitate the mooring also, it's a flying grounding rod. Lightning within 20 miles can be attracted by it's conductivity. The tether will have a ground in it, along with the power lines, that will provide a highly conductive electrical path at flying altitude.

The amount of flight time that will be achieved doesn't jibe well with their estimates.

The manpower needed to tend to it will offset the benefits of this intermittent source of power.

Another pipe dream.

21 posted on 04/20/2012 4:43:31 PM PDT by Puckster
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To: Puckster
PS The cost of helium is enormous, our balloon is 150k plus to refill if any damage releases the gas.
22 posted on 04/20/2012 4:49:20 PM PDT by Puckster
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To: NormsRevenge

Massachusetts?

So, the people who think a wind turbine way out offshore is an eyesore will not mind a flock of these blimps hanging over their heads?

Right...sure...uh huh.


23 posted on 04/20/2012 4:58:20 PM PDT by hattend (Firearms and ammunition...the only growing industries under the Obama regime.)
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To: Paladin2

Once you get above 1000 feet the wind tends to be steady, even if it’s calm on the ground. This sounds like a very good way to get power to off-grid locations.


24 posted on 04/20/2012 5:08:01 PM PDT by Squawk 8888 (Tories in- now the REAL work begins!)
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To: palmer

>Wind is never a problem with one of these since it can be attached to a truck and pulled around.<

I can’t stop laughing.


25 posted on 04/20/2012 5:36:28 PM PDT by bimboeruption (Clinging to my Bible and my HK.)
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To: NormsRevenge

They’ll blow up twice as often...

Seriously when the brakes fail and the generators overheat and explode they sure will allow a lot of people to experience a Hindenburg moment.

Lets not forget they will be real efficient at slicing up flying birds up there too. Falling dead birds from 1000 feet ruining roofs and windshields and possibly hitting people. Yup, no problems here.

Or when a tornado comes to town...


26 posted on 04/20/2012 5:40:00 PM PDT by Secret Agent Man (I'd like to tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.)
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To: Puckster

Having just spent an unhappy day wrestling 6 guage cable into place for a new stove brings to mind another propblem. Does the 1000 ft copper cable thick enough ot conduct the electricity that this blimp generates, without inordinate resistance losses, weigh more than the blimp can lift? But that is another minor engineering detail beyond the genius of these professors.


27 posted on 04/20/2012 5:41:12 PM PDT by AndyJackson
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To: AndyJackson
We send power up via a Georator that generates 2000vac. The reduces the need for wire gauge and increases the need for high voltage insulation on the wires. Stepping up the voltage reduces the current, hence the reduced wire size.

Conversely, the power generated by the this blimp would probably have a high voltage generator that would be reduced in voltage after it reaches the ground station. Again reducing the wire size need. The tether will probably have fiber optic cables also for telemetry return and balloon control.

The level of competency of the ground crew would need to be above average, technically, unless they train really well.

Getting back to the ground in the tether, at 1000ft, it will have more resistance than you're used to. But, again, an excellent lightning rod.

28 posted on 04/20/2012 7:00:57 PM PDT by Puckster
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To: Jack Hydrazine

Would adding a pole dancer make it more competitive?


can we energize the pole?


29 posted on 04/20/2012 11:09:16 PM PDT by cableguymn (Good thing I am a conservative. Otherwise I would have to support Mittens like Republicans do.)
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To: Squawk 8888

Once you get above 1000 feet the wind tends to be steady, even if it’s calm on the ground. This sounds like a very good way to get power to off-grid locations.


Then put ground based ones on mountain tops. Would this not be the same affect?


30 posted on 04/20/2012 11:15:25 PM PDT by cableguymn (Good thing I am a conservative. Otherwise I would have to support Mittens like Republicans do.)
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To: cableguymn

Yes, provided there is a mountain nearby. Connecting it to the grid is pointless; the chief (perhaps only) advantage of wind and solar is that it is an economical way to deliver power to remote locations where the cost is less than the cost of connecting to the grid. I’ve seen billboards near rural highways that have solar/wind arrays because the cost of ownership is less than connecting to the hydro service.


31 posted on 04/21/2012 8:23:49 AM PDT by Squawk 8888 (Tories in- now the REAL work begins!)
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