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The Periscope

Curing Ignorance Through the Lens

The Next Generation of Wind Power

BAT Turbine

The world’s first airborne wind turbine will float a record-breaking 1,000 feet above Fairbanks, Alaska.

As the world demands cleaner and cheaper energy, MIT startup Altaeros Energies has created an unconventional alternative to fossil fuels. Altaeros will soon be launching their helium-based Buoyant Airborne Turbine (BAT) for 18 months in the Alaskan sky. Winds at 1,000 feet above ground are 5-8 times more powerful than ground winds, allowing the BAT to harness twice the energy of a standard turbine. The system’s height and alignment can be adjusted in response to changing wind conditions in order to produce power at maximum efficiency.

In remote regions like Alaska, grid electricity can cost up to 10 times the national average. The BAT was designed to generate consistent, affordable energy to remote regions, off-grid industries, military bases, and disaster relief organizations. The Altaeros system reduces the cost of installing and transporting wind energy by up to 90 percent with its automated deployment, offering low-cost energy to sites with poor ground winds or challenging logistics that otherwise may have been forced to use expensive diesel fuel.  If the technology behind the floating turbine can somehow be adapted to rely on an element less scarce than helium, the BAT may well be the future of sustainable wind power.

Photo by Altaeros Energies.