AT – Airborne Wind

and to give those having fully functional prototypes budget to pursue utility scale prototypes. it would take 20 years
• with annual funding of $10 million it would take 15 years • with annual funding of $100 million it would take 9 years. starting from applications in satellites. This would probably require a budget in the tens of millions rather than billions. “It would be great to achieve significant university involvement” in air. there was disagreement about whether the money would be better directed to.” One route for funding university research would be through a program known as NASA Research Announcements. Mason Inman. To reach 1 gigawatt.” But others directly involved in the burgeoning airborne wind industry did not necessarily favor funding going to companies. adding that “supporting a broad spectrum of universities would ensure significant publications in open literature”—to the benefit of all players in industry and research. 6). Energy High in the Sky: Expert Perspectives on Airborne Wind Energy Systems. For example. (For comparison.borne wind energy. His articles have been published byReuters. the most judicious use of funds may be to give promising companies not having fully functional prototypes enough money to complete and test fully functional prototypes. $10 million per year. 9 September 2012 (available at: http://nearzero. Inman. Damon Vander Lind of Makani Power said. or whether it should go to companies.1NC . and health.org/)) KH Many experts argued that airborne wind energy is in too early of a stage to benefit from market incentives. Near Zero asked experts how long it might take to build and install enough systems to produce 1 gigawatt (1 billion watts) of electricity.Solvency Benefits of airborne wind energy too far off to solve short term. the environment. said NASA researcher Mark Moore. Martin Hoffert commented: “This technology is nowhere near ready for commercialization. it would take far longer for airborne wind energy to scale up. while others said it would take many decades—perhaps 50 years or more. the solar industry took about 40 years to reach cumulative commercial production of 1 gigawatt of solar panels. SolveClimate. “For now. Luciano Fagiano of Italy-based KITEnrg argued “R&D in universities and research centres is probably the most effective way to tackle the uncertain aspects
of the different technologies. For example. Too many issues facing regulation to be successful. But all agreed that with no government support. and $100 million per year (see Fig. The experts’ answers diverged widely. IEEE . What we need now are demonstration projects of competitive ideas. Moore said. with some saying airborne wind energy could reach 1 gigawatt within a few years. plan decreasing restrictions doesn’t solve. need stronger regulatory framework Levitan.) Near Zero asked how long it would take to reach 1 gigawatt in each of three cases: no support. ed.ward universities and government labs. Reaching Scale To gauge how long it may take for airborne wind energy to reach commercial scale. on average the experts said: • with no support. 12 (Near Zero. 12 (“High-Altitude Wind Energy:Huge Potential — And Hurdles” 24 SEP 2012: REPORT Dave Levitan is a freelance journalist based in Philadelphia who writes about energy. In Near Zero’s discussion.” In the discussion.

not to mention that the rotor systems require a logistical. high-strength cables has recent ¶ improvements that will make AWE more viable than it has been in the past.dtic. for example. For example. 2011 [Troy. Thesis at DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE AIR UNIVERSITY AIR FORCE INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY. Also.yale. This altitude occurs at about the same altitude that airlines like to ¶ fly at. For the moment. tethered to the ground.” Ruiterkamp says.pdf] /Wyo-MB Of course.000-foot tethers. That 5-MW Makani device that’s in the works? Its 213-foot wingspan is about the same as that of a Boeing 747.S. “If you have to set this up all by yourself as an industry.” Ruiterkamp of Ampyx says. Safety and related regulations are not trivial concerns. though in 2011 the U. What.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a539255.S. a 10 km high tethered system requires a massive region ¶ of restricted air space. is a 80-foot-wide device. it can’t happen without strict regulatory control. either in the Netherlands where his company is based. http://www. AIRBORNE WIND ENERGY: IMPLEMENTATION AND DESIGN FOR THE U. ¶ creative solution for . “There is no way you can operate without some form of official approval from the authorities. AIR FORCE. http://e360. the extreme heights that these AWE systems operate in also create ¶ some major obstacles. such as flying wind-rotors.S. it poses obvious dangers. Federal Aviation Administration did begin a process meant to include airborne wind systems in their governing structure. unmanned aircraft is the best approach. 2011 [Troy. AIR FORCE. this could cause significant resistance in the aviation industry to AWE systems ¶ operating at these heights.edu/feature/high_altitude_wind_energy_huge_potential_and_hurdles/2576/) KH Outside of R&D issues. Clearly. high-strength cables are not yet widely available.000 feet up in the air? Is it an airplane? A “building” or “obstacle”? There is no clear regulatory framework for the industry. allowing aircraft ¶ operations may require the AWE system to be geographically separated from the ¶ installation and within a certain safety distance from the base so that cables do not pose a ¶ safety hazard. But he warns against trying to create a new regulatory framework from scratch. No solvency—causes aircraft safety and interference issues Cahoon. http://www. Thesis at DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE AIR UNIVERSITY AIR FORCE INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY. it might take 15 years and there is no guarantee what the outcome will be. a challenge would be to ensure 25¶ compatibility with the DoD mission requirements. therefore. March 2011.dtic. No solvency—Siting and tech barriers cause complexity Cahoon. and remain semi-expensive. meaning the jet streams are still far out of reach. flying circles 1.¶ 10¶ This makes AWE systems more complex and. exactly. He thinks that convincing authorities to work within the existing regulatory environment for manned and. increasingly.pdf] /Wyo-MB One challenge for AWE systems when compared to ground-based systems are the ¶ components. and Psychology Today. another huge challenge is regulation. if industrial-scale farms are coming that feature these mammoths flying around at the end of 1. that increase the level of complexity for AWE ¶ systems. the technology for low-weight.S. Chiefly.Spectrum. If something that big breaks its tether and hits the ground. Even the M600 is roughly the same width as the wingspan of a Boeing 737. AIRBORNE WIND ENERGY: IMPLEMENTATION AND DESIGN FOR THE U. But lowweight. or in the U. this will limit testing to 499 feet of altitude. more expensive to operate than ¶ systems that are simply sitting on the ground. March 2011.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a539255.

where absolutely zero power will be produced. This means that there is always some period of ¶ time. AIR FORCE. 19¶ Power ¶ intermittence is a major problem for utility companies. Thesis at DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE AIR UNIVERSITY AIR FORCE INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY. even for devices like solar ¶ generators. then it drastically reduces ¶ any cost savings that the AWE might provide. http://www.pdf] /Wyo-MB One of the biggest problems with green energy sources.military installations where AWE is used simultaneously near an 29¶ airfield.¶ 13. AIRBORNE WIND ENERGY: IMPLEMENTATION AND DESIGN FOR THE U. a circular area of AWE systems spaced around the DoD site ¶ could be established to ensure safety of all aircraft. March 2011. Even for ¶ AWE. Airborne wind still intermittent—means no solvency Cahoon. the best locations will still produce no power at least 5% of the time. 2011 [Troy.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a539255. But in such cases.S.dtic. . such as wind and solar ¶ power. is that energy flow is intermittent. If a company or military operation has to have a fossil fuel power station or ¶ massive energy storage to act as a backup for the wind power. even in the best locations.

At least for now. Even at boundary layer altitudes.2NC – No Commercialization Technical and Logistical barriers to commercialization MacCleery.energykitesystems. from finding tether lines that are strong and light enough to gaining Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval and airspace clearance. FAA permitting questions need to be resolved.3. Testing at lower altitudes will enable us to confirm flying vehicle designs but not entire system designs enough to confirm commercial feasibility. They can’t win timeframe.2012.” 2. The Advent of Airborne Wind Power. 2011 [Bryan. http://windsystemsmag.000 feet wind is profitable on 70 percent of the world. . Founder and CEO of Highest Wind LLC.pdf>//wyo-hdm] All American AWE system developers are years away from commercialization. day and night in all weather conditions for weeks and months on end. Testing of AWE systems must occur at all the altitudes at which they will eventually be allowed to fly commercially. Longevity. development of AWE systems requires frequent. Unlike other aircraft. survivability. Even companies with their sights set on the troposphere plan to start at more modest heights. and eventually continuous flight testing. and extremely low maintenance requirements are the keys to the commercial feasibility of AWE systems. a company developing lighter than air generators resembling blimps that also double as floating cell phone towers. “Highest Wind LLC response to FAA docket 2011-1279 regarding Airborne Wind Energy Systems (AWES). January 2011.com/article/detail/187/the-advent-of-airbornewind-power] /Wyo-MB Harnessing high-altitude wind is a bold vision but brings with it a wide range of technical and logistical challenges. < http://www. Only by keeping AWE systems in the air for months at a stretch will any developer be able to determine whether their system is ready for commercialization. making tropospheric wind commercially viable is likely to remain elusive. 3. We are all essentially designing flying vehicles that must be as reliable as wind turbines – more reliable than the best existing passenger aircraft. We are all currently in the development and test phase and will likely remain here for the next three or four years before any of us have systems ready for purchase.” says Pierre Rivard.developers of AWE prove that the systems are still in the developmental phase and won’t be ready for several years Cherny ‘12 *Dimitri. clean energy product manager at National Instruments. 2.net/FAA/FAAfromHighestWind. CEO of MAGENN Power. “At 1.

“The fact that there is no other renewable energy source available in abundance with such high power densities says to me that we should have a research program trying to exploit it. the biggest remaining issue is reliability: In order to be viable. The power density in Earth’s jet streams is around 100 times that of sunlight hitting a standard photovoltaic cell. some of the specific engineering challenges may be difficult to overcome. but the major traditional wind power developers — Siemens.) could take 20 years or more.yale.” Caldeira says. According to an industry survey by the nonprofit energy analysis group Near Zero.000 feet and at five or six miles are enormous. wind industry executives say. SolveClimate. With a relatively modest government investment of $100 million per year.S. . Caldeira points out that reaching as high as the jet stream is the real prize. Experts in the industry think that without strong government support. that one gigawatt goal could be attained in fewer than 10 years. http://e360. and health. and Psychology Today. an eternity when drastic emissions reductions are the goal. 12 (“High-Altitude Wind Energy:Huge Potential — And Hurdles” 24 SEP 2012: REPORT Dave Levitan is a freelance journalist based in Philadelphia who writes about energy. and others — have so far left the airborne designs to the startups. terrestrial wind are already installed in the U. Vestas. Some larger companies such as Honeywell and 3M have shown some interest. airborne devices would need to stay aloft for long periods of time with little maintenance required. But the differences in engineering requirements between flying a device at 1. When it comes to really taking advantage of higher altitude wind. IEEE Spectrum. GE. tech too far off to solve in the near future. the environment. His articles have been published byReuters. Without major investment. installing even one gigawatt of airborne power (50 GW of standard.edu/feature/high_altitude_wind_energy_huge_potential_and_hurdles/2576/) KH But scaling up past the prototype stage won’t be easy. Levitan.2NC – Can’t Reach High Jet Streams Real benefits involve reaching jet stream heights.

First. Founder and CEO of Highest Wind LLC. 2011 [Troy.pdf] /Wyo-MB The challenges that this AWE resource face are significant. increases the expense and complexity of the system. http://www. 2011 [Troy.S. March 2011.dtic. One challenge is the increased complexity of an airborne system.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a539255. to determine how the U. and the DoD can take this ¶ step. ¶ such as the FAA and Congress.pdf] /Wyo-MB Another concern is lightning striking upon systems that are in a higher altitude.dtic. “Highest Wind LLC response to FAA docket 2011-1279 regarding Airborne Wind Energy Systems (AWES). The ¶ airborne nature of AWE systems requires the use of lighter and more expensive materials. ¶ This has to be mitigated by either bringing down the high-altitude system during ¶ lightning storms. then this will allow the AWE systems to consistently reach the highest ¶ altitudes. no obstacles appear to be insurmountable.pdf>//wyo-hdm] . http://www. http://www. March 2011.S.3.S.¶ 11 Multiple barriers to solvency Cahoon. Thesis at DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE AIR UNIVERSITY AIR FORCE INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY. ¶ An airborne system will also require the development of flight controls.net/FAA/FAAfromHighestWind. they will ¶ still not be as consistently available as fossil fuel sources. AIRBORNE WIND ENERGY: IMPLEMENTATION AND DESIGN FOR THE U. too.S. ¶ Despite the challenges of AWE technology. if technology can develop (for example. Developer of AWE.¶ 1 Too many significant challenges to solve Cahoon. AIR FORCE.2NC – No Solvency – Technical Hurdles Lighting strikes increase complexity Cahoon. AIRBORNE WIND ENERGY: IMPLEMENTATION AND DESIGN FOR THE U.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a539255. < http://www. in such a way as to reduce cable weight ¶ per unit length). Developers are facing tether problems that will make AWE infeasible Cherny ‘12 *Dimitri. Thesis at DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE AIR UNIVERSITY AIR FORCE INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY. AIR FORCE. The systems need to be proven reliable and safe. AIRBORNE WIND ENERGY: IMPLEMENTATION AND DESIGN FOR THE U.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a539255. AWE systems ¶ require restricted air space to operate—this will take a lot of discussion among people. or by designing it so that it can withstand the lightning strikes. This can ¶ be done: but it. The long tether ¶ is also a significant design challenge.” 2. The capacity factor reveals that if the systems are operated perfectly. March 2011.energykitesystems. In ¶ addition.2012. 2011 [Troy. An additional obstacle to AWE implementation is ¶ the issue of allocating air space for the AWE systems to use and share with other aircraft. AIR FORCE.pdf] /Wyo-MB The AWE technology does face some significant challenges that need to be ¶ overcome.dtic. because no one wants any ¶ accidents such as wind generators falling on houses or massive cables crashing down. Thesis at DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE AIR UNIVERSITY AIR FORCE INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY. Even the best AWE sites will ¶ provide no power at least 5% of the time.

However. of course as soon as they do.¶ Thus. in the face of shifting winds and changing weather.required lights to prevent air-collisions for AWE don’t exist Cherny ‘12 [Dimitri.3. Reliability of tech is a significant barrier Fries. that's the main problem and to counteract this problem I wrote an article on how to fly an aerostat like a kit at times. the primary barrier is the reliability of the technologies.eurekalert. Similarly.2012. “Highest Wind LLC response to FAA docket 2011-1279 regarding Airborne Wind Energy Systems (AWES). For the next couple of years of testing our rotors will continue to be made of wood.these are fierce winds with 60-80 mph hour gusts at times. size and energy requirements of those available today. flying nearly perpendicular to the wind at high speeds. High wind conditions cause mechanical issues Winslow.net/FAA/FAAfromHighestWind. compounding this problem to the point that many otherwise successful AWE designs might become completely infeasible. The requirement for the same lights on the tether at 350 foot intervals would make our system commercially infeasible given the current or future technologies for those lights.energykitesystems. a problem many developers are struggling to overcome.php] /Wyo-MB However. near zero.” 2. Developer of AWE.com/5390603 Not long ago.Challenges in Engineering. At this point we are unsure if our system will use rotor blades made of aluminum or some sort of composite material.Many AWE systems in development utilize “cross-wind motion”. Tubular Airborne Wind Turbine Aerostats . 11-16-2010.¶ Okay so. 2010 [Lance.org/pub_releases/2012-09/nz-hwh090912. We have no easy way to provide power to those lights along the tether and would face extreme difficulties with any system to attach or detach those lights as the tether is reeled in and out. they have to bring in these small surveillance blimps during the annual "Santa Ana Winds" known to that region . < http://www. that seems like it could be possible within the next few years. and now runs the Online Think Tank. there are many barriers facing airborne wind energy. The internal structures of the body will be primarily composed of aluminum with some sort of plastic aero-shell around the body. then like an aircraft at other times suggesting various morphing technologies to solve these problems. the current requirement for flags every fifty feet on the tether would be very difficult to achieve. You see there is a real problem with these units during high-wind conditions. a gentleman approached me to discuss airborne wind turbines after reading one of my articles on aerostats used in surveillance along the US-Mexican Border. And. Lance Winslow is a retired Founder of a Nationwide Franchise Chain. Article Source: http://EzineArticles. Tech infeasible. 2012 [Karen. 9-10-12. Turns out there . http://www. The addition of flags or lights on the tether would increase tether drag even further. since airborne wind energy systems would have to remain aloft for long periods of time.pdf>//wyo-hdm] The current requirement for anti-collision lighting the same as for towers (L-864 and L-865) will require the development of new lights meeting those standards which have half the weight. Founder and CEO of Highest Wind LLC. According to the results of the expert survey. Such motion across the wind induces high levels of drag in the tether. High-altitude winds have large potential as a source of clean energy. the illegal aliens see they are gone and come over in large human herds rushing the border in mass and overwhelming border security teams.

I love the simple design. you've seen the old article in the 1940s or 1950s with pictures tethered wind generator blimp. so I asked them:¶ "How do you deal with the burden on the shaft bearings (friction) and longevity of the system due to changes in relative wind direction? Does the turbine have an aft weather vane fin to keep the system pointed directly into the wind.on paper .but remember this isn't MIT college work anymore. I immediately saw inherent flaws in the design. Indeed. and yet. well this group pretty much borrowed those ancient ideas and are running with them as if they are something new and unique. if so does it have a dampening system to prevent buffeting?"¶ Turns out there were dealing with those challenges. their design team has work to do. I put together some sketches ready to give to them on how to use simple mechanical solutions and slats to alleviate this problem. as their little aerostat design has a wind turbine inside of its donut shape hull. So. Please consider all this. . it's definitely good to hear from you and yes. and had considered some of those problems from a mathematical standpoint . I told the gentleman.¶ Perhaps. But suffice it to say. it looks Murphy Proof. still.is a small start up team in the Boston Area dealing with a similar problem. now it's the real world.

more than enough to supply half the world’s power demand in 2030. the American plains and the Sahara for example. This fixed potential is the maximum power that can be extracted by a given number of wind turbines as they are spread apart over increasingly larger areas. The remaining two million would require a little more than one-half of one percent of the Earth’s land surface — about half the area of the State of Alaska. 12 (“There Is Enough Wind To Go Around” September 11. “We have a long way to go. Archer and Jacobson say it is best and most efficient to spread out wind farms in high-wind sites across the globe — the Gobi Desert. farmland.5 TW every year. where the vast majority of airborne wind would be harvested) Redorbit. Today.5 TW. They suggest that installing 4 million turbines would yield up to 7. which the study estimates to be around 11.2NC – No Modeling No international modeling means wind will never reach maximum capacity to solve warming and energy demands. In terms of surface area. (and conflict over water territory.” said Jacobson. Rather than put all the turbines in a single location. 2012 http://www.com/news/science/1112691410/wind-power-091112/) KH The team cautions that this saturation wind potential is a theoretical calculation and propose a “fixed wind power potential” for more practical applications. Spreading wind farms out worldwide in windy locations would increase efficiency. .redorbit. Jacobson and Archer would place half of the four million turbines over water. However. but could serve dual purposes as open space. ranchland. or wildlife preserve. virtually none of this area would be used solely for wind. we have installed a little over one percent of the wind power needed. as well as minimize costs and reduce overall impacts on the environment when compared with packing the same 4 million turbines in a few spots.

This difference in heating results in large differences in temperature and air pressure between the equator and the poles." This flow is governed by an accelerating force caused by pressure differences in the upper atmosphere. this fact is referred to in meteorology as "geostrophic flow. jet streams are ultimately caused by the fact that the equatorial regions are heated more strongly by the sun than are polar regions. Max Planck researchers also estimated the climatic consequences that would arise if jet stream wind power would be used as a renewable energy resource." ." explains Lee Miller. In technical terms.com/releases/2011/11/111130100013. just like any other wind and weather system on Earth. head of the independent Max Planck Research Group 'Biospheric Theory and Modelling'. and the so-called Coriolis force arising from Earth's rotation. http://www. It is this differential heating that sets the upper limit on how much wind can be generated and how much of this could potentially be used as a renewable energy resource. it takes only very little power to accelerate and sustain jet streams. It is well known in meteorology that the high wind speeds of jet streams result from the near absence of friction. The atmosphere would generate 40 times less wind energy than what we would gain from the wind turbines. Using this approach based on atmospheric energetics. first author of the study.5 TW (1 TW = 10^12 W. "Such a disruption of jet stream flow would slow down the entire climate system. Because the geostrophic flow takes place in the upper atmosphere. far removed from the influence of the surface and at low air density. the slow-down by friction plays a very minor role. Claims that this potential energy source could "continuously power all civilization" sparked large investments into exploitation of this potential energy resource. a measure for power and energy consumption) is 200-times less than previously reported and could potentially account for merely about half of the global human energy demand of 17 TW in 2010." says Dr. Their estimate of a maximum of 7. Axel Kleidon.5 TW were extracted from jet streams as a renewable energy source. If 7.2NC – Causes Climate Change Energy extraction from jet streams causes climate change Science Daily. However. Their high speeds seem to suggest an almost unlimited source of renewable energy that would only need airborne wind energy technology to utilize it. this would alter the natural balance of forces that shape the jet streams to such an extent that the driving atmospheric pressure gradient between the equator and the poles is depleted.sciencedaily. Hence. which are the driving forces that set the atmosphere into motion and create wind. Kleidon's group used climate model simulations to calculate the maximum rate at which wind energy can be extracted from the global atmosphere.htm] /Wyo-MB Jet streams are regions of continuous wind speeds greater than 25 m/s that occur at altitudes of 7-16 km. 2011 [11-30-2011. Gone With the Wind: Why the Fast Jet Stream Winds Cannot Contribute Much Renewable Energy After All. "It is this low energy generation rate that ultimately limits the potential use of jet streams as a renewable energy resource. As any wind turbine must add some drag to the flow to extract the energy of the wind and convert it into electricity. the balance of forces of the jet stream must also change as soon as energy is extracted. "This results in drastic changes in temperature and weather.

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It is a component of natural gas. but it usually occurs in such small proportions that it is not worth recovering. and has undergone successful test flights. blimp-like structure floats 1. The company says it successfully tested a prototype earlier this year. It uses a helium-filled inflatable shell to rise to high into the air where winds are stronger and more consistent. as well as easier maintenance. the disadvantage is the potential danger that the unit and cables pose to aircraft. are some of . and the entire balloon spins around a horizontal axis as the wind blows past. but the company says that the AWT is designed to reach 1000 feet where the strong winds would allow it to produce five times as much electricity. Altaeros. wind industry executives say. A test of the AWT at the Loring Commerce Center in Limestone. “High-Altitude Wind Energy: Huge Potential — And Hurdles” 9-24-12 http://e360.scifiideas. Another advantage the AWT has over its counterparts is the lack of noise pollution and visual impact on the landscape. writer for Clean Technia. given their easy transportability and quick set-up times. The balloon shell surrounds the blades and hub of a standard turbine in the center. meanwhile. “Wind Farm in the Sky Created by Donut-Shaped Blimp” 42-12 http://cleantechnica. Of course.Helium DA Links Airbourne wind designs use helium blimps Levitan 12 (Dave Levitan is a freelance journalist based in Philadelphia who writes about energy. Natural gas deposits in parts of the U. the environment. Even at that height. remote applications. though to quite different effect. and health. basically serving to lift a normal windmill 1. with no spinning blades. making it much more reliable than controversial land-based wind turbines. also uses a helium-filled device. the generator produced twice as much energy as it had at the height of a conventional tower. AWT technology used helium balloons Scifi Ideas 12 (“Air Bourne Wind Generators: The Future of Renewable Energy?” 4-3-12 http://www. and reports that the turbine generated twice the power at 350 feet as the same turbine did at standard heights of about 100 feet. may end up being most suitable for off-grid.yale.S. Although one of the most abundant elements in the universe.edu/feature/high_altitude_wind_energy_huge_potential_and_hurdles/2576// wyoccd) Two companies with dramatically different ideas are California-based Magenn Power and Boston-based Altaeros.99//wyoccd) . Another obstacle looming ahead is the helium supply issue. Magenn’s helium-filled. Maine earlier this year (2012) saw the unit raised to a height of 350 feet and winched back to its mobile platform in an automated cycle. AWT uses helium blimps-causes mass helium shortage Casey 12 (Tina Casey.com/sfi/technology/airborne-wind-generators-the-future-of-renewableenergy//wyoccd) The airborne wind turbine (AWT) has been created by Altaeros Energies.000 feet off the ground. to which it remains anchored. This simple set-up would also have the advantage of reducing the high energy costs and construction times associated with regular wind turbines. along with soft-wing kite designs like that made by North Carolina-based Windlift.com/2012/04/02/wind-farm-in-the-sky-created-by-donut-shapedblimp/#L1IYWDmb2YvgCeCT. The airborne wind turbine is launched from a specially designed trailer. This technology is about as bird-friendly a design as one could imagine. These inflatable designs. a company formed out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. helium is extremely rare on Earth.000 feet up.

House of Representatives.S. which has been using federal funding for alternative energy as an election-year issue with which to bash the Obama Administration. not so far) and the only currently available substitute is hydrogen. contributing to a “squandering” attitude that some analysts blame for the shortage. dominates the global market.S. lowering its prices and leading to a massive boom in the party balloon business. A massive U. An article last month in The Guardian reported the gas is becoming “worryingly scarce” for some purchasers in these fields. but despite the country’s current natural gas drilling boom helium is in short supply. which resulted in 36 deaths. helium stockpile from the early 20th century was sold off in the 1990’s. Helium cannot be synthesized (at least.S. Also of concern is the current majority party in the U. Helium is also widely used in medical diagnostics and research. .the world’s most helium-rich and for this reason the U. Hydrogen is flammable and has not been used in commercial blimps since the Hindenburg passenger blimp disaster of 1937.

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