Wi-Fi powered by flying wind turbines? The future is now!
Article by Stephanie McPherson
Ben Glass wanted to be a rocket scientist, but his career took him to the skies by way of a different path. A study about high-altitude winds released during his senior year at MIT suggested there’s enough energy in the upper reaches to power 100 Earths.
“Which is a nice phrase, but the takeaway is that there’s a lot of energy up there,” said Glass. “We just don’t have a good way of harvesting it and bringing it back down to the ground.” So Glass took his degree in aeronautics and set to work developing a floating wind turbine that could fill the void. Thus, Altaeros Energies was born.
The concept of Altaeros is remarkably simple. Use a large helium-filled shell to fly turbines roughly 1,000 feet above the Earth, 275 feet higher than the world’s tallest wind turbine, and tether it to a trailer-based station on the ground. This Buoyant Airborne Turbine (or BAT) has the lifetime of a typical stationary wind turbine with the advantage of quick deployment, making it possible to bring wind power to remote and rural areas across the world. The whole setup fits in a standard shipping container.
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