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Energy: Airborne Wind Turbine Essay

730 words - 3 pages

In this modern era man search for clean energy is a very sought after necessity. Current technologies include solar farms, damns, and windmills which are all sheep sources of energy but have low output yields. The need now is to find viable methods to produce more energy using the fundamental energies of wind, water and solar power and make it cheap. Steps have been made to better harness the power of water using wave and current turbines. Other methods have used the sun in focusing its rays to produce steam energy. While some of these programs have been proven to work and others have actually built there is one energy that engineers have had a hard time sorting out. Wind energy is a very good source of power and the current methods of collection are good, however, engineers feel that they can do better in harnessing this energy. The challenge they are facing is how to tame the less predictable nature of the winds above.

“Airborne wind energy is based on the long-known reality that winds get stronger and more reliable the higher off the ground you go”(1). The concept of airborne wind energy has been a hot topic in the past few years as companies have tried to find ways to replace the windmills currently used (1). Naturally Engineers have been trying to find ways to get turbines higher and higher into the air. By doing this the turbines can produce greater energy levels with the increased wind speeds seen at theses altitudes. There are many different designs on how to harness this energy but all of them have faced the same problems.

Because of the variable nature of the earth’s winds and weather, the programs have faced numerous challenges. “There are several fundamental challenges with airborne wind turbines related to flight hazards, safety, technical viability, economic viability, maintenance challenges and winter weather operation” (1). These challenges make for a look of design planning, and even with a successful design some design failures could be catastrophic. “The turbine could be over a very large range of downwind real estate in the event of a failure, and high enough up that throw distance of failed components is much longer” (1).

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