By Richard Romano on April 4th, 2012
There are two issues with ground-based wind turbines: they can disrupt local weather patterns (although, sometimes in a good way) as well as provide sometimes lethal obstacles for local avifauna, but there also is less wind near the ground compared to much higher up in the atmosphere, where winds can be as much as five times stronger (more if I happen to be flying, or so it seems…).
However, a company born at MIT has developed one potential solution: a blimp-like high-altitude wind turbine. The idea, according to Altaeros Energy, is to send it aloft nearly 1,000 feet in the air where the winds are stronger. Via SciTechDaily, a prototype Airborne Wind Turbine, measuring 31 feet across, was launched about 325 feet in the air where it was able to generate twice the power as a ground-based wind turbine.
The company is currently looking for partners to help develop, scale up, and commercialize the concept.
Also, cool word of the day: eolian energy.