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Suspended Wind Turbine

Suspended at high altitude, from a balloon, that is.
  (+2, -1)
(+2, -1)
  [vote for,

We start by constructing a machine that looks much like a relatively standard large wind turbine, an an unusually short tower -- the tower's height is just taller than the turbine's radius.

We attach the bottom of the tower to a huge balloon, and to a winch; we attach the top of the turbine to a crane, and lift the tower upwards slightly with that crane. Then, we fill the balloon with hydrogen.

The bottom of the tower is unbolted from the ground. The winch slowly lets cable out until the tower is pointed skyward (having been lifted by the balloon), and the balloon is supporting the full weight of the tower; then the crane releases the top of the turbine.

The winch then lets out more cable until the balloon and turbine together reach the optimum altitude.

To make up for lifting hydrogen lost through the balloon's skin, there is a device to capture water from the atmosphere, and an electrolysis device to produce hydrogen from that water. Barring punctures, hydrogen loss will be slow, so these components can be relatively small.

Maintenance can be done either by riding a cable car up to the turbine, or by hauling the tower and balloon down to the ground.

[edit] The turbine would be attached to the tower in such a way that the turbine's axis of rotation can be adjusted away from perpendicular to the angle of the tower. If you do a search for "vertical furling" you'll see what I mean. The difference is that the turbine's angle would be hydraulically actuated, so that it can be tilted up or down to match the angle of wind flow.

goldbb, May 17 2010

Tethered Wind Turbines http://www.magenn.com/
Not quite the same, but close. [MechE, May 17 2010]

Tethered Wind Turbines http://www.skywindpower.com/ww/index.htm
Even closer [MechE, May 17 2010]

Wikipedia - Airbourne Wind Turbine http://en.wikipedia...rborne_wind_turbine
[MisterQED, May 17 2010]


       This sounds somehow familiar.
8th of 7, May 17 2010

       The turbine would need to be tethered above and below or it will simplt swing out of the way of the wind. See links for a couple of different versions of people already doing this.
MechE, May 17 2010

       Well, I hate to be a stickler, but as stated, this won't work. You are missing one of the functions of the tower and that is to act as a point of non-rotation for the generator to work against. All this will do is spin in the wind and twist up the cable that holds it to the ground or did you think the tower was enough of a counter weight? Second, you are going to need one HECK of a balloon to lift all this and that balloon is going to mess with the aerodynamics of the blades.   

       This basis of this idea which is moving wind turbines way up into the atmosphere without towers is trying to be baked in two ways. The first is putting cloth vanes on the outside of a cylindrical or spherical balloon (link) and the second kind is loosely based on an autogyro. (link)   

       Both have issues, but way less then this idea. (-)   

       Ooops, [MechE] already put in the links I was going to, but I'll add the Wikipedia page too. (link).
MisterQED, May 17 2010

       MechE, The turbine and tower will swing backwards relative to the wind, but as long as the turbine's axis of rotation is parrallel to the wind, all will be well. If you note the change I just added to the idea, you'll see that this turbine should be able to accomplish just that. At least, it can as a downwind turbine -- if you assumed I intended for the turbine to be "in front" of the tower, that's your problem :)
goldbb, May 17 2010

       MisterQED, once the device is in the air, the turbine is attached to the "bottom" of the tower, and the balloon is attached to the "top" of the tower.   

       Thus, the weight of the turbine can act as it's own counterweight.
goldbb, May 17 2010

       Undeserved fishbone, {MQED}, the main problem is that the idea isn't very original.   

       Not [Widely-Knowm-To-Exist] but certainly [Widely-Postulated -As-Possible].
8th of 7, May 17 2010

       Many forms of airborne wind turbines have been postulated as possible; however, this idea isn't for "airborne wind turbines" in general, but rather one specific *form* of an airborne wind turbine.   

       Neither of the tethered wind turbines linked to even vaguely resemble my idea (Downwind wind turbine, upside down, hung from a balloon), nor do any of the ones on Wikipedia.
goldbb, May 18 2010

       // Undeserved fishbone, {MQED}, the main problem is that the idea isn't very original. // [8/7], maybe I wasn't clear, the fish bone was for an workable idea not a baked one, and as clarified with the balloon at the top of the inverted mast is workable, though my concerns about the issue with the balloon's aerodynamic effect still stand, but this is at least half baked and that is all we (or at least I) ask. (+).
MisterQED, May 19 2010

       How much wind would a windmill mill if a windmill would mill wind?
MaxwellBuchanan, Aug 30 2010


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