- Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building - http://inhabitat.com -

High-Flying Turbines Could Tap 870 Terawatts of Wind Power

Posted By Cameron Scott On September 9, 2010 @ 2:00 pm In Environment,Green Technology,Innovation,Wind Power | No Comments

wind power, airborne wind power, joby energy, makani power, renewable energy, sustainable design, space junk [1]

You know where there’s a lot of wind that could be harvested for energy [2]? The upper layers of the atmosphere, which contain as much as 870 terawatts of power — that’s 870 trillion watts! Researchers, startups and even some established players are getting serious about capturing that energy, and they’ll be gathering for a conference [3] at Stanford at the end of this month.

wind power, airborne wind power, joby energy, makani power, renewable energy, sustainable design, space junk [4]

The ideas are still in the germinating phase, to be sure, but atmospheric wind promises another significant advantage over down-to-earth approaches: less raw material needs to be used per watt of power, which translates into a lower cost per watt. Joby Energy [5], which hopes to launch a 500-kilowatt winged turbine next year, claims to be able to use just 20 tons of material per megawatt, compared to the conventional wind power [6] industry average of 96 tons.

But there’s a catch: keeping these funky contraptions from becoming more space junk. Joby’s plan to tether propellers with a cord sounds a little low-tech for such an ambitious undertaking, and competitor Makini Power [7]‘s glider wing proposal sounds pretty dubious, too. How about one of these balloons [8]?

+ Joby Energy [5]

+ Makini Power [7]

Via Greentech Media [9]

Images © Joby Energy

Article printed from Inhabitat – Green Design, Innovation, Architecture, Green Building: http://inhabitat.com

URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/high-flying-turbines-could-tap-870-terawatts-of-wind-power/

URLs in this post:

[1] Image: http://inhabitat.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2010/09/joby-ed01.jpg

[2] energy: http://inhabitat.com/energy/

[3] conference: http://www.awec2010.com/

[4] Image: http://inhabitat.com/2010/09/09/high-flying-turbines-could-tap-870-terawatts-of-wind-power/windpower-2/

[5] Joby Energy: http://www.jobyenergy.com/

[6] wind power: http://inhabitat.com/energy/wind/

[7] Makini Power: http://www.makanipower.com/

[8] these balloons: http://inhabitat.com/2010/08/04/gigantic-orbiting-balloons-could-solve-space-junk-problem/

[9] Greentech Media: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/power-from-the-atmosphere-is-it-real/

Copyright © 2011 Inhabitat Local - New York. All rights reserved.