Altaeros Energies is poised to break the record for the highest wind turbine ever deployed, with plans to float an electricity generating device at an altitude of 1,000 feet above a site south of Fairbanks, Alaska. The blimp-like powerhouse, which Altaeros refers to as a Buoyant Airborne Turbine (BAT), aims to improve on more conventional, tower-based turbines by tapping into the stronger, more consistent winds found at higher altitudes. BAT’s uniques selling point is that it can be moved to just about anywhere to provide remote locations with needed electricity. The obvious military applications apply to BAT as well. One example where BAT is currently being tested, is in Alaska where currently a significant amount of electricity currently comes from diesel generators at costs varying from 35 cents to $1 per kilowatt-hour. Altaeros believes it can offer wind power at 18 cents per kilowatt-hour, the New York Times reports. At that rate, power from the BAT would still be too expensive for most U.S. consumers, who pay an average of about 10 cents per kilowatt-hour for electricity across the board. But, it can serve areas that do not have access to electricity. The company says its turbine is held aloft by a helium-filled shell that has been tested at winds up to 45 mph. It is anchored via high-strength tethers that transmit electricity back to the ground. The BAT has a production capacity of 30 kilowatts, enough to power around 12 homes.
Photo Credit: Altaeros Energies