Santa Ana, CA (PRWEB) July 19, 2010
In 1833, John Adolphus Etzler envisioned a society that sourced energy from high altitude wind using a tether and cable technology. Until recently, the idea had been considered technologically nonviable.
Mouli Cohen, an entrepreneur and advocate of clean renewable energy, comments on the resurgence of interest in the 177-year-old idea.
What brought about this new interest in high altitude wind power was the presence of technologically-advanced materials and advanced computer knowledge during a green revolution of sorts. The materials include a reinforced composite tether, aerodynamic surfaces on the wings, and advanced air turbines. Computers are used with sensors to adjust flight orientation and rotor speeds according to the environment.
"The 'multi-wing' design by Joby Energy Inc. is reminiscent of the wings of one of the first airplanes designed by the Wright Brothers, without a cockpit." Mr. Cohen points out.
Indeed, the parallel lines that make up its modular frame make it look like it could take off into the sunset. But instead of gliding forward, the kite-like device will move a circular pattern at about 400 to 600 meters above the ground where the wind is faster and more consistent. Turbines are positioned at each junction where the bars of the frame intersect. These turbines also serve to initially launch the device into the air.
According to the Joby Energy website, "(It's) 2 MW airborne wind turbine produces the energy equivalent of two 2 MW conventional turbines and requires approximately 1/20th of the materials." And, with five times the wind speed at the system's operating altitude, it can produce five times more electricity and has a capacity factor of 76% compared to the 42% of a conventional wind turbine.
Joby Energy's High Altitude Wind Mills are not yet operating commercially, but they plan to fly outside of air traffic corridors and, eventually, offshore.
"With the convenience of fossil-fuel based energy sources, many of us have forgotten that there are so many potential sources of renewable energy out there," says Mr. Cohen. "We only need the innovative spirit to keep developing them."
About Mouli Cohen
Mr. Cohen is a successful entrepreneur who has founded and developed successful ventures in the biotechnology, high technology, digital media and entertainment sectors. He has balanced his success in business with philanthropic activities. Over the years he has supported children's charities, food programs, medical research, and the arts as well as education projects both in the US and abroad.