Providing power in remote locations used to mean lugging a generator and fuel wherever you planned on setting up. But Alteros’ solution is more elegant. Inflate a balloon with a small turbine inside and loft it to 1,000 feet, where the wind is much stronger and more constant. That altitude means that the inflatable wind turbine is able to generate twice as much power as its ground-based contemporaries.
Alteros claims that the electricity it generates with its turbine is more expensive than what you could get from a power grid. But it also claims that the electricity is cheaper than what you could get from a generator, which requires a constant influx of fuel and are quite inefficient. A turbine of this type could not only prove to be a more economical solution than traditional generators, they can be taken further afield. These generators can generate power for as long as the balloon is inflated.
There are a few potential issues with the design, however. High wind conditions would require the balloon to be wound in, and there are always puncture risks. In addition, once you deploy one of these, they are not nearly as portable as a comparable generator. You could vent out the helium, but helium is expensive.
Still, this is a cool design. I can’t wait to see these popping up around the world for things happening far from electrical grids.
Yahoo Photo by : Altaeros Energies