Jul 23 2012

Floating Wind Turbines

Published by under Student blog entries


In an attempt to develop better and more efficient sources of renewable energy, a few companies are working on a new type of wind turbine: turbines that float up in the air.  While several wind farms on land have proved to be excellent sources of energy, there are some issues.  At lower altitudes, winds are more intermittent, so there is a less reliable source of energy.  In addition, many find large wind turbines to be an eyesore.  In fact, Cape Wind, a proposed wind farm in Nantucket Sound has been met with several lawsuits by residents of surrounding Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, and Cape Cod.

Altaeros Energies, Altaeros Airborne Wind Turbine, MIT, wind power, wind energy, high altitude wind turbine

Altaeros' Airborne Wind Turbine

Floating wind turbines are designed to float several hundred feet in the air.  This allows the turbine to harness the stronger winds that blow at altitudes above ground level.  In addition, the height off of the ground makes any noises the turbine makes far less noticeable, if at all.  Also, the design of several models makes the spinning turbine unable to be seen from the ground.

The leading design consists of a helium-filled shell surrounding the turbine allowing it to float in the air.  The turbine is stabilized by tethers which also transmit electricity produced by the turbine to the ground.

Altaeros has been the forerunning company focusing on this type of project.    In early 2012, they produced and flew the first successful floating turbine which climbed to 350 feet, generated power, and then landed again.

Other companies working on these new turbines include Magenn Power and NASA.  With continued exploration of this new device, floating wind turbines may prove to be the next big source of wind energy production.






2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Floating Wind Turbines”

  1.   Adaon 02 Nov 2012 at 2:15 am

    Remarkable! Its genuinely remarkable piece of writing, I have got much clear idea on the topic of
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  2.   Abe Cambridgeon 02 Dec 2012 at 6:31 pm

    All well and good, but Helium is not a renewable resoure, and in fact is one of the scarcest elements on earth with medicinal helium in hospitals being in very short supply.