Airborn Wind Turbines!
How cool is this: The Magenn Floating Power Station!?!
The Magenn Power Air Rotor System (MARS) is a remarkabley innovative lighter-than-air tethered device that rotates about a horizontal axis in response to wind. It efficiently generates clean renewable electrical energy, and apparently more cost effectively than other solar, thermal and wind solutions. The turbine is inflateted with helium (which is inert and non-reactive) and suspended 1,000 feet above ground, or wherever prevailing winds are best. The electrical energy is transferred down the tether to a transformer at a ground station and utilized or transferred to the power grid. The rotation of the turbine also causes the "Magnus effect" which provides additional lift, keeps the device stabilized, keeps it positioned within a very controlled and restricted location, and causes it to pull up overhead rather than drift downwind on its tether. The first units in production will be a 4Kw residential unit that will cost ten thousand dollars, and can be ordered this spring from the Ottawa-area company.
I first read about this in the New York Times yesterday, and thought amongst the most compelling renewable energy sources I have seen. I'm also a really big fan of Energy Innovations' Sunflower high-concentration PV system, which is the most efficient solar energy system available. But man, if we could get the the Department of Energy to pull its collective fecal matter together such that energy producing citizens could sell back to the grid such as the Germans and other Europeans, I think we'd see fresnel lensed solar cells mounted on millions of rooftops and lots of dirigable turbines... (which Magenn Power Inc. asserts are friendlier to avian wildlife than other wind turbine systems).