The adverse effects caused by global warming are increasing with every passing day and are caused mostly by the traditional way of generating electricity by burning fossil fuels and the threat of scarcity of these fuels also increasing with the growing demand. Now, there is a drastic need for searching reliable alternative sources of renewable energy.
Wind turbines that fly at high altitudes are one option. These machines are tethered to ground supports and also transfer electricity generated at higher altitudes to the ground using these tethers. Many researches proved that wind power produced by wind turbines is the reliable, eco-friendly, cost-effective and best alternative sources of green energy. It is amazing to know that, the wind energy can cater for the energy requisite of entire planet by harvesting a mere percent of high-altitude winds. At present, Megenn Power and Sky WindPower are the two of the companies strive for developing flying generators for high-altitude winds.
1. Makani Power to develop energy harvesting kites
Kites are more advantageous than traditional wind turbines, as they can fly at extreme high altitudes and can take the benefit of high speed winds for generating a relatively high kinetic energy. Makani Power, a California-based high altitude wind power generating company is creating a prototype of energy-harvesting kite with 1MW power generating capacity.
Makani Power is now developing kites driven by the robots for keeping them in floating condition for longer periods. These kites are designed for altitudes of up to 600 meters.
2. NASA researchers envisions airborne wind turbines for renewable energy
Mark Moore, a NASA aerospace engineer reveals that the future wing farms will be placed at high altitudes to take the advantage of more consistent and jet-speed winds at higher altitudes. These airborne turbines can continuously float for at least a year and during the bad weather like thunder storms, they can be reeled back easily. The power generated is transmitted to the earth stations through nanotube tether cables.
After successfully launching the full-fledged version of wind turbine in North Carolina, Magenn Air Rotor System (MARS), has finally come out with a unique closed three-dimensional cylindrical structured teethed wind turbine. These turbines can cater industrialists by replacing the traditional diesel generators or for usage in remote areas.
It has the advantage with its closed structure for making the turbines in versatile sizes. It is filled with Helium and can fly so high up to 1000 feet. The power generated can be used immediately, stored in batteries or transmitted to a power grid. As per Pierre Rivard, president and CEO of Magenn, MARS can be replaced by the diesel generators or can be in remote locations and is most suitable for industrial purposes.
4. Joby Energy tests high-altitude wind turbine prototype
Joby Energy is aiming for generating highly reliable renewable energy with low-cost by using the advantage of high-speed winds at higher altitudes. Its prototype looks like an airplane without cockpit and assembled with couple of vertical air turbines. Initially the turbines are given power for the vertical take of the unit and after reaching the designed height they are self-sufficient to rotate with the cross winds and enables the unit to rotate in a giant circle.