Recycled jet stream

The idea is madly in the wind. This involves using the jet stream which blows between 4 meters and 500 meters in altitude, all around the globe, to produce electricity by means of flying wind turbines. Like a kite, they will be secured to the ground by an ultra-resistant Vectran cable surrounded by two aluminum wires which will carry a current of 15 volts to a ground station.

Concept inventor Bryan Robert of Sydney University of Technology plans to equip each wind turbine with four 40-meter-long rotors made of very lightweight materials. They will first serve as a propeller to bring the machine to the desired altitude, then the blades will begin to turn on their own, moved by the jet stream. Bryan Robert calculated that a wind farm of 600 of these machines with a power of 20 megawatts each could power two Chicago. After testing models, he joined forces with three other engineers to create a start-up in California called Sky WindPower. They plan to manufacture a 200 kilowatt prototype within two years, provided they find the $ 4 million they need.

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Problem: these flying wind turbines could constitute obstacles for planes, but the inventor retorts that there are about fifteen balloons in the upper atmosphere without any accident having ever been deplored.


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