Wake up, world! Why look down, not up, to meet the world’s energy needs? Immediate profits for some may be greater looking down, but we at Sky WindPower Corporation, and a few others around the world, have concluded that looking up will turn out to be a much better solution both economically and for the world’s health.
It was known to scientists before any of us were born, and not kept secret, that there is far more than enough energy in high altitude winds, miles above the earth’s surface, to supply all the world’s power needs. And just average wind conditions high above the earth in the temperate zones of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres are sufficient to supply all the world’s energy needs. The jet stream does not have to be overhead.
Burning fossil fuel has been a great crutch, especially when it just bubbles out of the earth. But, now that we are running out of oil, our heads are really stuck in the sand if we don’t conclude that there are reasons to look up, way up.
That the truly high energy winds are at altitudes miles above us, not just a few hundred feet where they can be tapped by rotors on towers, is clearly demonstrated in the form of detailed color charts calculated by Dr. Ken Caldeira, formerly of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, now at the Carnegie Department of Global Ecology at Stanford University. These charts show at what latitudes and altitudes this vast energy is to be found. We are indebted to him for permission to display these charts in the Global Wind Resources section of this website.
Fortunately, our Chairman at Sky WindPower, Australian Professor Bryan Roberts has long been aware of the wind facts and material improvement trends, and convinced that, by application of an appropriate technology, this high altitude wind energy can be captured. He set out to prove that long ago, and has demonstrated that Flying Electric Generator(FEG) technology is practical and should work at high altitudes. This is the “Flying Windmills” technology you may have read about first in the Canadian “National Post”, and since then in major newspapers overseas and many U.S. publications other than newspapers.
Please see pictures upper right of a FEG which he and his colleagues demonstrated at low altitude years ago, and lower right of an artist’s view of the next planned FEG which Sky WindPower plans to demonstrate under Professor Roberts’ direction at an altitude of 15,000 feet and above.
Our figures show now, that with the advent of very strong but light tether materials, through use of what is essentially existing rotorcraft technology, capture of high altitude wind energy should prove cheaper than as derived from any fossil fuel.
In mass use, our calculations show that FEGs of Roberts’ design should be able to produce electricity at a life cycle cost of LESS THAN TWO CENTS PER KILOWATT HOUR using tether materials now available. And new tether materials with even stronger strength to weight ratios are being developed.
If all costs are considered, including the true costs of nuclear fission, long range this will be the world’s cheapest energy source other than the limited hydro sources and limited situations where surface based wind turbines may be the most economic in supplying relatively local needs. But, on a larger scale, our figures show that high altitude wind energy will be capable of supplying the world’s needs at the best overall economics. As applied to the United States and Canada, please see the U.S. Electric Energy Statistics and Canada section.
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.
A FEG is a tethered device, and tethers going up to high altitudes obviously pose a problem to aircraft. But, while it is not well known, balloons tethered at up to 15,000 feet already exist along the southern border of the United States carrying radar equipment to detect drug flights.
Calculations show that airspace restricted for power generation will need far less restricted airspace to supply all the nation’s needs than is already restricted from civil aviation use.
This website discusses measurement of the velocity and consistency of high altitude winds, calculations on the capacity to capture this energy using Roberts’ technology at specific locations in the United States and around the world, Flying Electric Generator technology, restricted airspace use, future powering of vehicles, energy storage systems, the global wind resources and projected long range FEG economics.
This is an artist’s (Ben Shepard’s) rendition from Professor Roberts’ preliminary working drawings of the next planned Flying Electric Generator rated at 240kW with rotor diameters of 35 feet.
The total swept area for a 1.5 MW Flying Electric Generator with rotor diameters of 88 feet is 24,329 square feet, as compared with a ground base wind turbine 1.5 MW turbine(such as GE Model 1.5sl)with a single rotor diameter of 252.6 feet, total area of 50,115 square feet.
Yet the Flying Electric Generator would produce over twice as much electricity per year at typical locations due to the much higher high altitude wind speeds and constancy.
Looks like a good concept, but many ifs spring up to mind.
Sky WindPower Corp website is here for more info.