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UPDATE Wind turbine generates energy floating 350 feet off the ground

Remember the Airborne Wind Turbine? Here is a video of the prototype in operation. A demonstration of the 35-foot-wide Airborne Wind Turbine in Limestone, Maine by Altaeros Energies, a wind energy company formed out of MIT. The prototype was tested up to 350 feet high, produced over twice the power of traditional wind turbines, and was fully automated. The AWT uses a helium-filled, inflatable shell to ascend to higher altitudes where winds are more consistent and over five times stronger than those reached by traditional tower-mounted turbines. The lifting technology is adapted from aerostats, industrial cousins of passenger blimps that for decades have lifted heavy communications and radar equipment into the air for long periods of time. Altaeros is developing its first product to reduce energy costs by up to 65 percent by displacing expensive fuel used to power diesel generators at remote industrial, military, and village sites.

Altaeros Energies:
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towable trailer to where? that thing would get towed to the first bridge :)
Technology is just beginning to address real ways to suck energy from the wind, waves, and sun.
seems like it could work. Even better would be helium in solution and then have it inflate on site. Wonder how much energy its going to be able put out? I would think these would be cheap. It would need a elevation detection device that would deflate if it broke loose in order to keep from floating into flight lanes, etc.
Wish I had been back home to see this. I am originally from that area myself. I miss it. Most people think I am crazy because "nothing is up there." I don't care. I miss it.
I wonder how long it has to run to replace all of the fossil fuel energy (kilowatts, not cost) that it took to build and operate it?
think about alternative, energy if one would take one slice of spent fuel rod out of a nuclear plant it would power one vehicle for eternity. As long as we have a containment box that someone could build in case of a crash. One spent fuel rod would power. How many vehicles?.
+David Wilkins you could make that sad argument for most alternatives to fossil fuels right now.
When you can find a solar panel or a wind turbine that can get a jet off the ground... then we'll talk.
seen it. it is already in use in japan.
Great idea in theory. Too high maintenance. Requires way too much human monitoring. Just my opinion of course as I have been down THAT same road of theory as I work on H.U.G.S..
+John Tippett You would have to overcome two things: First, people will not keep their vehicles for eternity, they will want to replace them and the nuclear disposal problems are unsolved. Second, bad people will hack their vehicles, get enough of this stuff and make a dirty bomb. I guess the containment box would have to be proof against that, but don't underestimate the problem.
I wonder how it perform ina 'decent' wind, like the 100mph+ gales we get here.
Byp Vas
Great idea.My country use this idea than our electrical power must be developed.
Aren't we just about out of helium?
hah! this is great. i remember having an idea very similar only in the ocean, maybe funneling within the gulf stream or nearer to shore being propelled by the tides. nice to see somebody at least gets up and makes it real.
What happens when a flock of geese fly into it?
+Roger Parkinson Good foresight. It seems no one wants to be honest when talking green energy. Yes the utopian world that we no longer burn fossil fuels as of 6 am in the morning is a beautiful dream, objective word here is "DREAM". It will take 40 years MINIMUM to change over and THAT is ONLY AFTER we have a SOLID reliable green energy source. People also seem to selectively or plain be ignorant to the fact of just how dangerous of a pollutant spent batteries are! They are a tremendous burden and pain in the ass to deal with as TRASH. If electric was the answer, then why is the sun not utilized to the max? It shines on the planet 24 hours a day, and it is still NOT the answer. I find this to be part of the problem the Global Warming community had when they started doctoring there findings thus setting them back YEARS and appeared to be having the 'chicken little 'effect. They only have them selves to blame for that. Now, there nothing worse than liars calling others fools for not believing them! In summary, we all know that man is having a negative effect on the planet. It is of to what degree is the question and throwing money at it is NOT a solution (Mr, Gore / D in science at Harvard).
+JD Gragg I am still waiting for large scale tidal turbines. The sun goes down. The wind stops. The tides will not stop for over a billion years. I think that's some pretty good energy right there.

It's expensive to start up. That's why it isn't common. However, I imagine in the long term, it is an excellent choice. Solar just isn't efficient enough, and even the best windmills won't turn in 0 mph winds. Nuclear can be dirty depending on the circumstances.

I think tidal energy is the key.
Problem with tidal is durability and maintenance, not just cost. Salt water and sea air do a real number on metal.
I think of durability and maintenance as part of overall cost. :)
Okay it would require constant supervision of a facility as there are extreme weather situations this would have issues with, but far better and a lot more efficient than those huge wind turbines.
inflatable wind turbine < flock of angry seagulls
@Jamie Hoskins the turbine blades can be heavy duty plastic. and everything else can be contained and sealed.!
Petroleum-based plastic or plant-based? ;)
Here's hoping they use hydrogen in the production version; would be pretty pitiful to lose our helium supply in the pursuit of renewable energy.
waht is this beb,,,,??
There's not enough helium in the world for this to be considered a viable option for creating widespread power.
damn this is a great pivot of an old idea
The fixed ones chop up birds as well so there would be little difference except there must be more air dragged through this, but it has less span and so may be easier to avoid. Also they need to make the balloon out of fabric solar panels and make use of the stronger sunlight at higher altitudes.
In warzones, you can just use batteries or burn coal.
this is a new one to me..Looks very interesting and promising in the future. Thanks for the post. Gotta check this out.
realy a great idea to save our nature without intrupting our growth
i still think a kite which is producing the energy on the ground would be more efficient
hey how energy effecient is that
Let me know when I can pick one of these up at Home Depot.
This is a step in the right direction that is for sure.
+BJ Cardon Not so much an argument against the alternative energy tech (we need it), just an acknowledgement of how much we take for granted the high energy density of FF and how that cheap, high density energy enables us to overlook the massive amounts of energy we consume.

The ICE and FF that we use now is amazing. I'm constantly reminded of that when I pedal or walk up a hill.
This is freaking cool! But is it just me, or does it really resemble Google's App Engine logo.
+Robert Bradly Not likely, but you never know. Hell, I'm so used to hearing random gunshots up here, I don't even think twice. Nobody does. Guns are rarely used up here for anything criminal. The news would have you think otherwise, but that's because it's such a rarity that they have to make a huge deal about it.

Shit... I had to report someone the other night for randomly firing their weapon. In truth, it wasn't the gun that was the problem. It was the noise. After 10PM, there are sound limit laws (forgive me for not knowing the proper term). Since it was about 11PM, it was far too late and I don't need my kid not being able to sleep.

Now, want to fire off rounds all day? Nobody really cares. It's pretty normal around here. Hell, last week I heard some friends about a mile away firing off semi-automatic weapons. I was taking a lunch break from work out in my car. I took a nap to the soothing sound of gunfire.

I know, it sounds nutty. Really, though, most of us are fairly normal. It's just something you are used to.
Yes, let's just give up all of our money for something that may be ineffective. Being environmentally friendly is a good thing, but like everything in life, it requires balance. If we have an option that is equally as effective or more so for less cost, then we should go that way instead.

Some would say you can't put a price on clean air... well, that is somewhat true. But if being "green" becomes too expensive, people who can't afford it will revert to unsafe practices.

For example, most local communities now charge for disposal of certain products, like refrigerators and such. Quite often, people just dump them in the woods instead. How is that helping the environment. Oh, but the cost is acceptable, you say? Well, some individuals believe it is not. For that matter, some may agree but simply not have the money.

We live on a planet where a billion people are malnourished. How would they feel about the costs? They just want to eat. Little else matters to them. What about them?

It's not a simple problem, nor is the solution as simple as just throwing money at the problem in hopes it will go away. We must be smart about how we charge forward and not just jump on the green bandwagon because it's the responsible thing to do.

Think, then act. This is why I don't own a hybrid car. The cost of producing a new vehicle (financially and environmentally) plus the environmental cost of the batteries built into them, pretty much negates any real savings. My old car isn't the cleanest, but it isn't the dirtiest either. If I can keep pushing my vehicles to go as long as possible, and that means I own one less vehicle in my life, that is one less that needs to be manufactured for me. That saves too.

It's not a simple problem with a simple solution. There is a lot to it, and much is overlooked.
+Allen Stenhaus
Go oil PR man. GO! You can convince us. Just give it up and keep buying gasoline/ fossil fuels. It'll never work because blah dee blah dee blah I write to you from my oil PR desk. Go oil PR man GO! Work work work, Hard at work.. shoot those greenies down. Protect my pension. Go oil PR man GO!
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