Planet Earth Weekly

Climate Change and Renewable Energy: Saving Our Planet for Future Generations


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Renewable Energy: The World’s First High Altitute Wind Turbine, The Bat

The Bat generates immediate savings by replacing expensive sources of energy in remote areas.

Another Renewable Resource

First Airborne Wind Turbine.

The Airborne Wind Turbine

April 6, 2014–Borrowing from the technology of a blimp which is used to hoist communication equipment, Altaeros Energy was created in 2010 by MIT students for the sole purpose of building the first commercial airborne wind turbine called the Bat (Buoyant Airborne Turbine). Ben Glass designed an array of turbines for his senior project, one of which was the buoyant airborne turbine.The Bat is not anchored to the traditional turbine base, but floats at a high altitude, producing twice as much energy as a regular wind turbine because winds are more consistent at higher altitudes.It’s a “helium filled donut surrounding a rotor.”The Bat will be a low cost alternative to fossil fuels, delivering energy to the furthest points of our earth.

The Bat: Environmentally Friendly and Economical

The Bat is made from a durable fabric and inflated with helium, much like a blimp. The outside shell moves around and lines up with the wind direction, thus channeling wind through the turbine to create electricity. Tethers are connected, which anchor it to the ground and a portable ground station, which is build on a trailer platform for easy mobility. Wenches on the ground station adjust the length and align the shell to keep the tethers from getting tangled. The tethers can be adjusted to an altitude of 1000 ft above the ground, if needed, for peak performance. A weather monitor, camera or sensor equipment can also be added to the shell, giving it multiple functions in places that are isolated and difficult to accommodate traditional turbines.This turbine has less impact on humans and wildlife and will reduce the cost of energy for remote communities.The first turbine will launch in Alaska where the price of electricity can reach $1.00 per kilowatt, much higher than the national average, but with the Bat electricity will cost as little as 18 cents per kilowatt, much less expensive.

Within the next several weeks, a smaller test version of the Bat will be launched. This is a blimp with 3 blades, 18.3 meter diameter and will be tethered 300 meters in the air near Fairbanks, Alaska.

The Bat, another clean resource working towards a healthier planet!