Soon, airborne turbines to harness wind energy at high attitudesPublished On: Mon, Jun 14th, 2010 | Science | By BioNews
An American company is testing turbine prototypes in a bid to harness wind energy at high attitudes.
The California-based firm Joby Energy”s prototype is a 30-kilowatt system that looks like a high-tech version of the Wright Brothers” plane, sans cockpit.
An array of turbines lift the structure into the air vertically and then it moves in a giant circular motion to maximize exposure to cross-winds.
Electricity is then transmitted through the tether.
“The redundancy of motors and turbines ensures that the system can be controlled in the unlikely event of on-board motor failure,” Discovery News quoted Joby Energy spokesperson Sher Quaday, as saying.
Quaday added: “We use rigid wing structures as opposed to fabric structures, which enables us to operate for several years without replacing components.”
According to Joby Energy, its system is reliable and efficient because it generates power on-board, transmitting energy electrically as opposed to mechanically.
If the current prototype is successful, Joby will try out a 100-kilowatt version next year.
The company estimates that its first system deployment is likely about two years away.