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Category: Science
Date: 04/23/12 04:00 PM

29 Responses to The Airborne Wind Turbine – Looks Like A U.F.O.!

  1. Profile photo of kitteh9lives
    kitteh9lives Female 70 & Over
    8033 posts
    April 23, 2012 at 1:14 pm
    Link: The Airborne Wind Turbine - Looks Like A U.F.O.! - The 35` wide helium-filled turbine reaches altitudes where winds are 5X stronger than those reached by normal turbines.
  2. Profile photo of 5Cats
    5Cats Male 50-59
    31783 posts
    April 23, 2012 at 4:16 pm
    Interesting!
  3. Profile photo of jamie76
    jamie76 Male 30-39
    2346 posts
    April 23, 2012 at 4:26 pm
    great idea!
  4. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12390 posts
    April 23, 2012 at 4:33 pm
    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.
  5. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12390 posts
    April 23, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    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.
  6. Profile photo of LemonCurry
    LemonCurry Male 40-49
    1106 posts
    April 23, 2012 at 4:45 pm
    wow, report of ufos will skyrocket.
  7. Profile photo of tiedyed
    tiedyed Male 40-49
    304 posts
    April 23, 2012 at 5:40 pm
    Yeah Ang... let`s just stick with our nice reliable and safe-for-everyone oil, methane, coal and of course our pal, nuclear.
  8. Profile photo of Crabes
    Crabes Male 30-39
    1285 posts
    April 23, 2012 at 6:21 pm
    good idea but its gonna be a problem with strong winds
  9. Profile photo of Kaagan
    Kaagan Male 18-29
    1596 posts
    April 23, 2012 at 7:04 pm
    oh man, transporting that thing and one of those straps comes loose! run away turbine.
  10. Profile photo of Drjake
    Drjake Male 18-29
    28 posts
    April 23, 2012 at 8:14 pm
    what about storms?
  11. Profile photo of ryan99
    ryan99 Male 13-17
    2346 posts
    April 23, 2012 at 8:17 pm
    That`s badass! How much will they cost to keep running? Like, filling up helium and powering the wenches to raise and lower them
  12. Profile photo of DingDingDong
    DingDingDong Male 30-39
    1511 posts
    April 23, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    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.
  13. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12390 posts
    April 23, 2012 at 10:59 pm
    Yeah Ang... let`s just stick with our nice reliable and safe-for-everyone oil, methane, coal and of course our pal, nuclear.

    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.
  14. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12390 posts
    April 23, 2012 at 11:03 pm
    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.

    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.
  15. Profile photo of Angilion
    Angilion Male 40-49
    12390 posts
    April 23, 2012 at 11:27 pm
    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.
  16. Profile photo of onoffonoffon
    onoffonoffon Male 30-39
    2314 posts
    April 24, 2012 at 12:50 am
    If it`s so light why does it take a truck to move it?
  17. Profile photo of DingDingDong
    DingDingDong Male 30-39
    1511 posts
    April 24, 2012 at 1:42 am

    I`m just waiting for thorium nuclear power.
  18. Profile photo of Gerry1of1
    Gerry1of1 Male 50-59
    36208 posts
    April 24, 2012 at 6:08 am

    Those things would never last.
    They`d be shot up by rednecks and mexicans.
    `Cause that`s what rednecks and mexicans do.
  19. Profile photo of simbha
    simbha Male 30-39
    412 posts
    April 24, 2012 at 6:13 am
    Umm... don`t we have a pending helium shortage?
  20. Profile photo of EgalM
    EgalM Male 30-39
    1707 posts
    April 24, 2012 at 8:02 am
    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.
  21. Profile photo of Draculya
    Draculya Male 40-49
    14544 posts
    April 24, 2012 at 8:25 am
    A clever idea... unless you`re a bird.
  22. Profile photo of Shillier
    Shillier Male 18-29
    260 posts
    April 24, 2012 at 12:44 pm
    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.
  23. Profile photo of 8BitHero
    8BitHero Male 18-29
    5414 posts
    April 24, 2012 at 1:33 pm
    *Later that day on YouTube*
    UFO sightings over Limestone Maine.
  24. Profile photo of highonhuffin
    highonhuffin Male 40-49
    180 posts
    April 24, 2012 at 6:13 pm
    @Shillier:
    America could team up with the %25 of obese Canadians and take over the world!
  25. Profile photo of mischief83
    mischief83 Male 18-29
    186 posts
    April 24, 2012 at 9:13 pm
    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
  26. Profile photo of richanddead
    richanddead Male 18-29
    3318 posts
    April 24, 2012 at 10:24 pm
    the reason this wont work in one word...

    Thunderstorms
  27. Profile photo of incubus_inc
    incubus_inc Male 18-29
    976 posts
    April 24, 2012 at 10:54 pm
    On the contrary thunderstorms might only end up aiding one of these brilliant things.
  28. Profile photo of Riya043
    Riya043 Female 18-29
    7 posts
    April 25, 2012 at 12:27 am
    See this sanp ..!
  29. Profile photo of richanddead
    richanddead Male 18-29
    3318 posts
    April 25, 2012 at 6:46 am
    @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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