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High-Altitude Wind Energy:

The Business Case

Theresa Johnson,
M.S. Candidate Aeronautics and Astronautics, Stanford University

Jon Gibbs
S.M. Candidate Aeronautics and Astronautics, MIT
Characteristics of High-Altitude Wind
High-Altitude Turbines vs Traditional Turbines

7-16km above sea level


Altitude 198 m

Energy
Up to 100MW per turbine 7MW per turbine record
Density
Turbine
Configuratio Rotor-craft or Kite "Danish" Concept Turbine
n
Capacity
0.8-0.9 0.2-0.4
Factor
Power
0.593 Betz Limit 0.593 Betz Limit
Coefficient

Jet Stream: (Polar Jet stream is found at mid-latitudes, 7-10km; sub-


tropical jet stream if found at +/- 30 degrees, 10km-16km)
Wind Stability and Capacity Factor
Wind speed
distribution at
the height of a
typical turbine.

Half of the
energy available
arrived in just
15% of the
operating time
Wind Stability and Capacity Factor
Methods for Harnessing Energy

Patented high altitude concepts include tethered UAV (left)

Other concepts, such as helium lofted turbines (right),


produce too much drag at jet stream wind speeds
Methods for Harnessing Energy

Our concept uses a rotor-craft at an angle of attack that acts


as a turbine
Current and Projected Market:
High Altitude Wind Energy
Characteristics of Liquid Ammonia Fuel
Hydrogen vs Ammonia vs Natural Gas
Production
80% 70% 60%
Efficiency

Renewability Renewable Renewable Non- Renewable

CO2 Emissions 0 0 117K lbs/btu^9

Energy Density 23MJ/kg 45 MJ/kg 90MJ/kg

Combustion
Gas Turbine Engine Gas Turbine Engine Gas Turbine Engine
Mechanism
Current and Projected Market:
Liquid Ammonia Fuel
Life Cycle Comparison:
Jet Stream vs Traditional TerrestrialTurbines

Setup Time ~ 2
years

Setup Time ~ 4
years
Life Cycle Comparison:
Jet Stream vs Other High Altitude Turbines

Setup Time ~ 2
years

Setup Time ~ 5
years
Our Competitive
Advantage
Rapid Deployment
Target the Jet Stream
Large MW/sq M of land area
Lowest Cost per MW
100% Renewable source of
energy
Intellectual Property Strength
Intellectual Property Strength, Defensibility

Vehicle Design & Tether Weak, many UAV's with


(None) similar configuration
designed for low altitude
Control Design Strong - Substantial R&D
(Trade Secret or Patent) and testing required. (2
PhD's)
Solid Sate Process for Weak - must be licensed
conversion of electricity, from a 3rd party patent
water, and air to NH3
(Licensed)