Airborne Wind Turbines Take a Flight

The Airborne wind turbine prototypes, a distant dream since the 1970s, is finally taking a flight. The Alt energy enthusiasts had always wanted to harness powerful winds from the troposphere. The global winds have an anticipated potential of 800 terawatts at high altitudes. The California-based Company Joby Energy, now for long, has been examining prototypes of its turbines. The present prototype, which is a 30-kilowatt, seems like it is a high-tech edition of the Wright Brothers' plane sans cockpit.

An arrangement of turbines lifts the configuration into the air perpendicularly and then moves in a giant globular movement to maximize contact to cross-winds. Then, electricity is transmitted through the tether.

"The redundancy of motors and turbines ensures that the system can be controlled in the unlikely event of on-board motor failure. We use rigid wing structures as opposed to fabric structures, which enables us to operate for several years without replacing components", says Sher Quaday, a spokesperson from Joby Energy.

As the system generates power on-board, hence transmitting energy electrically, this makes it more reliable, adds Joby Energy.

Joby is sure to try out a 100-kilowatt version next year, if the current prototype is able to prove itself.

Many other Companies, including Makani Power, Sky WindPower and Magenn Power, too are developing airborne wind turbines.

As the Federal Aviation Administration, for now, has limited the flying altitude of the turbines to 2,000 feet, and also it the Administration is not known for making changes too swiftly, therefore, the Companies are facing some challenges.

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