Inflatable wind turbines float and fly high in the sky

Wind Turbines that Fly May 18 2014

Huge, inflatable wind turbines may be able to bring energy – and maybe Internet – to an estimated 1 billion people in rural area where power is unavailable.

“Anyone who needs power and is having trouble supplying it today often they rely on diesel generators for their power, which happen to be some of the most expensive and some of the worst for the environment,” said Altaeros Energies Co-Founder Adam Rein. “There’s enough energy and winds that are out of reach to power the world a hundred times over. And so there’s been a bit of a quest to say, ‘What way can we harness these winds that are out of reach?’”

We’re all familiar with wind turbines; they have three blades, and they spin, and they’re on towers.

“We’re taking that same concept of these three blades of power-generator,” said Rein. “Instead of putting it on a tower, we’ve built a helium-filled inflatable shell that wraps around the spinning blades and lifts it up higher in the air — where the winds are much stronger and more consistent than any tower can reach.”

Rein says the challenge of wind and solar and other renewable energy has been that they are intermittent. For example, the sun only shines during the day, and winds come and go. . . .