The Airborne Wind Turbine - Looks Like A U.F.O.!

Submitted by: kitteh9lives 5 years ago in Science

The 35" wide helium-filled turbine reaches altitudes where winds are 5X stronger than those reached by normal turbines.
There are 28 comments:
Male 4,072
@incubus inc:

Maybe, maybe, but I just can`t see giant spinning blades that are blowing in the wind, attached to long whip-like wires as the best thing to stand next to in a thunderstorm, just saying.



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Female 7
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Male 977
On the contrary thunderstorms might only end up aiding one of these brilliant things.
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Male 4,072
the reason this wont work in one word...

Thunderstorms
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Male 186
Ryan99: "That`s badass! How much will they cost to keep running? Like, filling up helium and powering the wenches to raise and lower them"

Wenches are surprisingly cheap to power: they`re basically slaves, and since they are already bringing you your beer, having them raise and lower the turbines should be no problem
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Male 180
@Shillier:
America could team up with the %25 of obese Canadians and take over the world!
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Male 5,413
*Later that day on YouTube*
UFO sightings over Limestone Maine.
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Male 260
what we should really do is turn 200,000,000 exercise bikes into generators and get the fat people of america to power the world.
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Male 14,834
A clever idea... unless you`re a bird.
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Male 1,737
So what happens when the helium wears off and it comes crashing down to earth? Do you have to rebuild it, refill it and than launch it again, sounds like a waste of effort.
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Male 412
Umm... don`t we have a pending helium shortage?
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Male 38,480

Those things would never last.
They`d be shot up by rednecks and mexicans.
`Cause that`s what rednecks and mexicans do.
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Male 1,511

I`m just waiting for thorium nuclear power.
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Male 12,365
While alternative generating methods should be developed just in case, I`m not sure they`ll be necessary. ITER is still ahead of schedule and an economic nuclear fusion system will remove the point of any other electricity generating method - it`ll be cheaper, far more reliable, far more controllable and less damaging to the environment.
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Male 12,365
[quote]I`m sure it`s more efficient, but it`s not very big, because it has to be very lightweight. It`s not going to generate a ton of power like a big fixed turbine will.[/quote]

At its designed altitude, it could probably generate a lot more per year than a "windmill" turbine. The wind higher up is faster and more dependable. That also reduces one of the problems of wind power - lack of reliability. It would still be too unreliable for more than niche use, but it would be a slightly bigger niche.

Since they would also work at different altitudes, you could just use more of them. Put one at 500`, one at 600`, one at 700`, etc, and the stack will certainly generate more than a "windmill" turbine underneath them.
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Male 12,365
[quote]Yeah Ang... let`s just stick with our nice reliable and safe-for-everyone oil, methane, coal and of course our pal, nuclear.[/quote]

Or how about we shove our heads up our arses, pretend fashionable alternatives work well enough and work without any potential problems when neither is true and jeer at people who acknowledge those things? Then we can all feel smug as civilisation collapses due to a lack of affordable power. Yeah, let`s do that. It`s obviously so much better than any other options.

Incidentally, nuclear is currently the safest option per KWh generated. But you wouldn`t know that because it isn`t trendy.

Thankfully, there are still scientists and engineers who are more concerned with what works and how well than with trendiness. They may save civilisation from the luddites and trendies.
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Male 1,511

I`m sure it`s more efficient, but it`s not very big, because it has to be very lightweight. It`s not going to generate a ton of power like a big fixed turbine will. Cool tho.
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Male 2,344
That`s badass! How much will they cost to keep running? Like, filling up helium and powering the wenches to raise and lower them
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Male 28
what about storms?
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Male 1,627
oh man, transporting that thing and one of those straps comes loose! run away turbine.
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Male 1,284
good idea but its gonna be a problem with strong winds
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Male 329
Yeah Ang... let`s just stick with our nice reliable and safe-for-everyone oil, methane, coal and of course our pal, nuclear.
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Male 1,104
wow, report of ufos will skyrocket.
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Male 12,365

However you do higher altitude wind power, you get some problems:

i) The no-fly zone is pretty big if you want to generate useful amounts of power.

ii) Things will break. What do you do with a 1000ft or 10,000ft heavy-duty cable falling to Earth? What do you do with 35` turbines floating around in commercial airspace? Hell of an aviation hazard.

iii) Winds play a huge role in weather and it doesn`t take much change to have very serious effects. If you tap them on a huge scale for lots of power, what effect will it have on the weather? Currently unknown and it`s not something you want to learn from studying the effects on a global scale after they`ve happened.
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Male 12,365
Higher-altitude wind power isn`t a new idea. It makes a lot of sense because winds tend to get stronger and more reliable as you go further up. For example, a couple of years ago there was an interesting prototype from the Netherlands using kites. A small-scale proof of concept reliably generated 5KW, so it`s not just theoretical. It`s just a tethered kite and a dynamo on the tether reel - wind pulls kite up, dynamo generates electricity, change kite angle and it drifts down, change kite angle and it`s pulled up again...repeat all day.

The current "windmill" turbines are really rather crap.
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Male 2,345
great idea!
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Male 37,775
Interesting!
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Female 8,044
Link: The Airborne Wind Turbine - Looks Like A U.F.O.! [Rate Link] - The 35` wide helium-filled turbine reaches altitudes where winds are 5X stronger than those reached by normal turbines.
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