Airborne wind turbines
June 3, 2013 at 12:39 pm #22011
I came across the concept of airborne power generators recently and wondered if it has been discussed in regards to Seasteading.
Potential benefits over towered wind generators would include taking up little deck space and providing more power on a more consistent basis. The downside is that it would would pull the platform around more than a tower generating the same amount of power.June 6, 2013 at 6:45 pm #22016
That’s fine if you want to go where it’s pulling you, or it’s stopping the water currents from pulling you. But if the wind stops, i hope the generator up there doesn’t land in the ocean!June 7, 2013 at 7:03 am #22022
Good point about the possibility of falling. It would have to be reeled in if the winds die down. Otherwise, it could be designed to survive a water landing.June 7, 2013 at 9:10 am #22024
First of all, the point of using an airborne wind turbine is that the turbine is at a height where the wind never dies down. You raise the turbine up into the high wind streams that are constantly circulating the globe. You’re never going to get as high as the jet stream, but there are constant winds at 800-1000m that never stop. So you get constant power generation.
Secondly, most airborne turbines don’t actually use the wind to stay aloft. You use aerostats or large balloons that have their own lifting force, with large wind turbines attached. You let the balloons go up to a high altitude, where the wind turbines generate power. So if for some reason the wind dies down the turbines stop producing power, but the balloon stays in the air.
An airborne turbine would definately put a larger force on a seastead than a tower turbine, but that is because it is generating MORE power due to 1) the higher wind speeds at higher altitudes, and 2) the constant wind as opposed to intermittent wind at lower altitudes. Also the aerostat itself will be affected by the wind, and the drag will be felt by the seastead. So you’ll have to design your station-keeping system to handle the higher loads…June 7, 2013 at 10:54 am #22025
There’s other reasons for a balloon to fall down, like the plastics deteriorating from being out in the sun all day, lightning hits, bird hits, meteor hits, plane hits at night, etc…June 10, 2013 at 2:02 pm #22028
>There’s other reasons for a balloon to fall down,
>But if the wind stops, i hope the generator up there doesn’t land in the ocean!
>It would have to be reeled in if the winds die down
I was responding to both of you discussing what to do if the winds die down, not any kind of failure situation.
Bird hits aren’t going to do anything, because even if a bird runs into the wind turbine and damages it, the aerostat stays aloft. You can just reel in the aerostat, repair/replace the turbine, and then let the aerostat back up to production height.
You certainly don’t have to worry about deterioration. Aerostats do not use plastic, the envelope is usually a treated fabric (like coated ripstop nylon) or some other treated material such as the High Strength Laminated Aerostat Material (HSLAM) used by Raven Industries. The HSLAM has been tested in extreme situations like severe summer thunderstorms and extreme high temperatures, and nylon is incredibly weather resistant. They will most certainly not break down from “being out in the sun all day”.
You also don’t have to worry about lightning strikes, as most aerostats are designed to survive them by using hardened tethers and other methods. It’s possible the turbines attached to the aerostat could be damaged, but again you just reel in the aerostat, repair/replace the turbine, and then send it back up.
Hits by aircraft are easily avoided as well by notifying all surrounding air traffic about the location of the aerostats. Plus, your seastead is probably not going to be anywhere near where low-flying planes are travelling. There are plenty of methods, from radio signals to beacon lights, to protect from the odd low-flying plane.
And if you are worried about meteor strikes then your risk-benefit analysis is WAY too detailed.
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