By John Vlahakis

Altaeros Energies recently presented a novel deployment of a wind turbine.  This week the company released a video of its prototype airborne wind turbine taken during a test run in Maine this past winter.  The donut-shaped blimp has a spinning fan at its center, and it’s tethered to a base station by cables that carry electricity from the blimp to the local grid.  The turbine is designed for remote villages or industrial sites where there isn’t grid power and for places such as military outposts that need to rely on diesel generators.  With the machine high in the air, the small wind turbine inside the helium-filled blimp generates twice the power as pole-mounted turbines, the company said.  That’s because winds are stronger and steadier at higher altitudes.  This turbine was tested at 350 feet up.  Altaeros says that this airborne wind turbine has a maximum ceiling height of 1000 feet.  The cost of such a turbine is more expensive than a land based turbine, but according to the company it is less expensive than portable diesel generators.  The company is working on a larger utility-scale turbine for offshore wind.  Altaeros Energies should be congratulated for coming up with a novel approach in delivering sustainable energy.

Photo Credit: Altaeros Energies

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