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Using high-altitude winds to create power

04/06/2005 9:27 AM

Mr. Bubble writes:
Wired has an interesting news piece about an engineer working on a system to hold aloft wind turbines to utilize high-altitude winds for energy production.

"Sky WindPower estimates the craft will produce 200 kilowatts per hour of electricity in an area that at ground level would produce none because of a lack of wind."

With the rising price of oil, new technologies are needed, but I'm not sure if this is practical. Thoughts?

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The Feature Creep

Join Date: Feb 2005
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#1

BBW Effect

04/06/2005 10:23 AM

I'd be more worried about the Big Bad Wolf (BBW) Effect. If the winds are that strong then the inclination of the system will be to be blown away rather than turning the turbine blades. The tether would have to be very strong and the device moored far enough apart that wind shifts would not blow them into each other. (Rather like boats in a harbor.)
With the kind of wind power they are talking about the blades might even blow off and snap. There was a windmill near where I grew up and the problem was whenever a good long gust of wind came along it would snap the blades off because they couldn't handle the strain. I'm sure we have made progress since then, but I'm still skeptical.

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Guru
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#2

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

04/06/2005 11:19 AM

Could such a contraption maintain a stable orbit in the troposphere? Locating these generators out of sight and out of mind would certainly meet the objections of those who dislike seeing windmills on mountainsides. A recent study concluded that one-quarter of the U.S. is suitable for windpower. This technology would seem to increase that percentage.

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The Architect
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#3
In reply to #2

Re:Out of Sight, Out of Mind

04/06/2005 11:27 AM

Can you post that "recent study" link again?

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Guru
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#4
In reply to #3

Re:Out of Sight, Out of Mind

04/06/2005 11:41 AM

Sorry about that oversight. The studyis actually from May 2003 - perhaps not so recent after all.

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