How to Capture Energy at 2,000 Feet
A The body, or shroud, of Altaeros’s Buoyant Airborne Turbine (BAT) is kept aloft by 1,000 cubic meters of helium. Four air-filled stabilizing fins passively steer the BAT into incoming gusts. The company worked with airship and spacesuit pioneer ILC Dover to develop its proprietary UV- and weather-resistant fabric.
B The first commercial BAT will house a 30-kilowatt turbine, which could power roughly a dozen homes. A larger version will fly a 200-kilowatt turbine. The BAT can also carry radio and cellular antennae or wireless Internet gear to create or extend voice and data networks.
C Three double-braided polymer tethers prevent the airship from drifting away. One contains copper conductors that transmit power, collected as high as 2,000 feet, down to a battery or the grid.
D The ground station, responding to sensor data from the BAT, helps the craft hunt for optimal wind conditions, around 30 mph. It can adjust the BAT’s altitude using three winches and rotates as the craft faces shifting air currents. The station can also reel the BAT all the way in if wind speed exceeds 75 mph