High Altitude Turbines Preparing to Power AlaskaCategory: Science & Technology
Posted: May 26, 2014 10:02AM
Over the past several years, depending on where you live and/or travel, you may have witnessed landscapes changing as veritable forests of wind turbines were put up. In the future though, wind farms could have a different look to them, and require you to look up more. Alumni from MIT have developed Buoyant Air Turbine systems and should be deploying some to Alaska next year, to test their feasibility.
Constructing wind turbines on the ground is not as easy as some may think, what with all of the materials and equipment needed to do so. For some areas, it may be too costly or too expensive to get all of the supplies, but the BATs should be able to help with that as one can be broken down to fit into just two midsize shipping containers. Once the containers arrive it just needs to be inflated and it will lift itself into the air. The tethers will then feed power to the ground, ground the electronics to keep them safe from lightning, and move the entire system, to catch the best winds. As high altitude winds tend to be faster and more stable than those tower-based turbines can catch, the BATs could supply quite a bit of power.
The 18 month trial in Alaska is to see if the system can be commercially successful and a viable means to replace the gas and diesel generators relied on for power in remote areas. If successful, the BATs could see use at military bases, industrial sites, island and rural communities, in a number of countries.