High altitude windpower

We all use electricity from the moment we awake to the moment we go to sleep, this means that electricity should always be available to everyone. This means that the production of electricity should be constant.

Nuclear fusion and fission are constant, but in the other hand the solar/wind/wave farms are not. This is one of the reasons why they are not popular. However if it is possible to place one of these farms in a place with a high constant energy they might become more favourable.

Aircrafts use the jet stream in the stratosphere to save fuel and shorten flight times. The jet stream is a constant wind displacement in one direction creating a narrow band in which the airspeed is very high.

If we use this wind to power a farm of ‘windmills’ it would be possible to produce electricity 24/7. Because of this ever present wind the efficiency will be drastically increased possibly making this the energy source of the future. The only difficulties with this plan is how to harness this power and how to bring it down to earth for use. Batteries are not a good solution because of the low energy density, price, weight and other factors.

A copper cable will have to be very strong and flexible, carbon nanotube wires are a possibility. These issues will have to be solved before this technology can be used.

It is a good plan to continu research on this topic because it is said that if we can harness one percent of the energy in the jet stream the demand for electricity of the whole world can be met. Also due to the altitude one will not be able to hear nor see the wind farms. The downside however is that it will not be commercially available in the next 10-20 years. Another thought is terrorism, the power of a nation will be easily accessible to anyone who can reach it.

Nuclear energy however does have some possible green competitors in the future.

For more information visit: http://www.skywindpower.com/ww/index.htm

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5 Responses to High altitude windpower

  1. benvandoninck says:

    Hey Niels,

    First of all, I like the way you think outside the box. Not only the common power sources (nuclear or renewable) should be explained. So keep up the good work.

    On topic: I partly agree with the point you are making: “Nuclear fusion and fission are constant, but in the other hand the solar/wind/wave farms are not. This is one of the reasons why they are not popular.”

    I understand that there is a constant need for power and energy. But isn’t it true that the consumption of this energy is lower at night? So I don’t think there is a need of a constant amount of energy, which is not the same as “a constant need of energy”. I think you should be carefull not to mix up these 2 sentences.

    Secondly, it is true that nuclear power can be generated day and night. But can’t other power sources (wind, solar, …) store their energy during the day?

    For example: Can a solar panel, which produces energy during the day, store a part of this energy in for example batteries, so that you can use this energy when the solar panel doesn’t create power?

    And just one more thing: What about the cost of this new energy source (in comparison with previous posts)? And do you have any idea how this thing will keep flying. I mean, is there an extra energy source available, or does it use the power that it has just created?

    Ben

  2. That is a valid point Ben, at night the consumption is lower than during the day and this should be taken into account. However, solar panels only produce when there is sun, wind farms only when there is wind, etc. This means that when it is a cloudy day and you rely on solar panels for your energy, you have a problem. Maybe I should have chosen the word ‘reliable’ to describe what I was going for.

    I partly agree with you second point, the green energy should be stored but not in the form of batteries. They are too damaging for the environment (production and recycling), why not try a green way of storing energy.

    For example: Potential energy. If we use part of the produced green energy to pump water into a higher located reservoir. When there is no sun or wind one can let this water fall down over a turbine, thus creating energy. Using this method there are no emissions during the production and storage of the energy.

    There has been a study about the cost of the produced electricity, it is also on the site.
    http://www.skywindpower.com/ww/index.htm this is the cost of the electricity
    http://www.skywindpower.com/ww/index.htm how it flies

  3. benvandoninck says:

    Maybe the case of the potential energy storage is a bit farfetched, does it really exist? I’m guessing that storing energy into batteries is more efficient than pomping water to an higher level and then using a turbine to create power.

    On the next site (http://www.zonnepanelen-info.nl/zonne-energie/opslag/) you can find different means of solar power storage systems. You have a point when you say you can use water to store the energy, but more efficient are the batteries and e.g. zeolites.

    So when you want a more efficient system, you can choose the battery system, which is the most used system worldwide. But if you want to be as “green” as possible, you can use the water method.

  4. I agree with you, the idea is not one that you immediately think of when you are looking for storage options. But that is the beauty of this solution, is such a radical new idea that it is crazy enough to work. In my opinion we have to look for brand new ways of thinking about energy to find a brilliant solution. The little tweaks in current technologies are not enough to change the current situation.

    Thank you for the site, I will have to look into those zeolites batteries.

    • I forgot to mention the self-sustainable island that used the idea of storing water at higher locations to use as backup power.
      I found some information on it, it was a small island somewhere in scandinavia. I will let you know when i find more information on it.

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