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High altitude wind power

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
This is pretty interesting:

http://www.skywindpower.com/ww/index.htm

This is a company doing research and actual field tests with windmills that convert energy from high altitude jet streams to electricity. much more efficient than terrestrial wind mills. I found this quote from the article

"When the United States realizes that high altitude wind energy is capable of being its most economical energy source, market forces will lead to its gradually supplanting oil and to energy independence - as well as end the debate on global warming - because its most economical energy source will produce no greenhouse gases."

pretty troubling if you were an Exxon employee or shareholder.

post #2 of 15
We need to seriously consider and develop options. Unfortunately, all I see from the Powers is the desire to drill for more oil,
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post #3 of 15
Very cool find.

It looks like it's still awhile away from real deployment, but it's definitely thinking outside the box.

Here in Ontario we're about to shell out billions to build nuke plants to keep the lights on, so here's hoping that the real world usage for this comes very, very fast.
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post #4 of 15
I like this quote: "If an aircraft does fly into a tether, in spite of entering the airspace illegally, tethers could be severed, and passengers killed. However, it is expected that the rotorcraft could usually be brought down safely anyway."

So, hey, people could die in collisions with the tethers holding these things to the ground, but at least the "rotorcraft" could land safely. Glad they have their priorities in order.

(I'm mostly kidding, as the entire project is essentially a proof-of-concept, but maintaining a fleet of these things at altitudes of 15K feet or higher and ensuring aviation safety and the safety of those below shouldn't be trivialized.)
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post #5 of 15
Snore. . .
The problem is that it's an enviromentally dependent solution. The only realistic ways to overcome energy limitations are to either use less power or to utilize a [mostly] environmentally independent energy source such as nuclear fission and later fusion.

Before you clever sleuths get on my case about my use of "environmentally independent," I will explain. Oil is dependent, since organic matter has to decay into oil. So are other fossil fuels. Hydro, wind, and solar power also require environmental conditions to be present, namely the existence of a large basin, a lot of easily accessible wind that guaranteed to exist even during ice-ages, and there to be sun overhead. There is a-plenty of Uranium to go for a long time, and there's plenty of room in a Yucca mountain complex to last us until fusion power is available. I think it's reasonable to expect fusion power to become mainstream before year 2200.

I think the only thing that nuclear fission has against it are irrational fears of reactor failure, particularly when induced by terrorist sabotage. But these fears are misplaced. In a few years, it will be a lot easier for terrorists just to nuke us with bombs. Beyond that, non-Soviet operation of nuclear power has been impeccable.

Lastly, environmentally dependent solutions will never amount to more than a marginal portion of future power requirements even if they are considered to be realistically achievable sources of power. Estimates seem to have our civilization entering "Type 1" status before 2200. That is, we will be creating as much energy as the Earth could possibly provide. So all the energy in Jetstream amounts to very little value in the not-so-long term.
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post #6 of 15
One thing that I think would be cool is something like this that takes energy from hurricanes.

If you could convert enough wind energy from a hurricane into a storage medium (hydrogen, antimatter, etc) it would not only supply energy, but also reduce the shore damage (and eventually we could use it to suck out all the energy and totally protect ourselves).
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post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally posted by Outsider
pretty troubling if you were an Exxon employee or shareholder.

They could probably buy dozens of such prototype companies with last quarter's profits.
post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally posted by Moe_in_Texas
We need to seriously consider and develop options. Unfortunately, all I see from the Powers is the desire to drill for more oil,

Because they feel secure in their profits in it...which I can understand but then we need to implement these new energy strategies.
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post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Carson O'Genic
They could probably buy dozens of such prototype companies with last quarter's profits.

Very true. And yet gas prices are high.
post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally posted by Outsider
Very true. And yet gas prices are high.

They are probably not too keen to spend the windfall money, as there was 20 years (1984-2004) where refining oil into gasoline was a money losing business (which is why we lost half of the US refining capacity).

If it was me, I would store some of that money away as fat reserves.
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post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally posted by e1618978
They are probably not too keen to spend the windfall money, as there was 20 years (1984-2004) where refining oil into gasoline was a money losing business (which is why we lost half of the US refining capacity).

If it was me, I would store some of that money away as fat reserves.

Oil won't last forever, as a leading automotive fuel maybe not even 20 years.
The prudent thing to do is diversify into other energy sources.

Quote:
Originally posted by e1618978
One thing that I think would be cool is something like this that takes energy from hurricanes.

If you could convert enough wind energy from a hurricane into a storage medium (hydrogen, antimatter, etc) it would not only supply energy, but also reduce the shore damage (and eventually we could use it to suck out all the energy and totally protect ourselves).

How do we do that? AFAIK, we have nothing on the planet even remotely capable of harnessing hurricanes. Nothing at all, not even on the drawing board.
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The evil that we fight is but the shadow of the evil that we do.
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post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally posted by Frank777
How do we do that? AFAIK, we have nothing on the planet even remotely capable of harnessing hurricanes. Nothing at all, not even on the drawing board.

It is just an end goal - it might take a while to figure it out, but it would be cool.

Maybe small blimps with attached wind turbines that auto-target into the wind. As long as the hurricane is over water, you don't have many dangerous projectiles in the wind, and if you get smacked down to the water you won't sink because you are a blimp.

A swarm of a couple hundred thousand of these maybe could reduce a hurricane from cat 5 to cat 3 or something. And they could store the saved energy from one hurricane to power themselves in the next hurricane.
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post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by e1618978
They are probably not too keen to spend the windfall money, as there was 20 years (1984-2004) where refining oil into gasoline was a money losing business (which is why we lost half of the US refining capacity).

If it was me, I would store some of that money away as fat reserves.

Or companies like Exxon can look to the future and use some of those billions on R&D. IT would go along way to improve their image and show their holders they are being forward thinking.
post #14 of 15
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Abhor the Stereotype, respect the Individual.
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post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally posted by e1618978
It is just an end goal - it might take a while to figure it out, but it would be cool.

Maybe small blimps with attached wind turbines that auto-target into the wind. As long as the hurricane is over water, you don't have many dangerous projectiles in the wind, and if you get smacked down to the water you won't sink because you are a blimp.

A swarm of a couple hundred thousand of these maybe could reduce a hurricane from cat 5 to cat 3 or something. And they could store the saved energy from one hurricane to power themselves in the next hurricane.

You never got vectored blind into thunderstorm have you. It's not a friendly place and a hurricane is a thunderstorm that's also moving horizontally at 60-120 knots depending on how close to the center you are and how strong it is. Every thunderstorm has hail in the cloud at some altitude, mostly pea sized and smaller at high altitude which melts by the time it gets to the ground. That wouldn't be to kind to your blimp.
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