August 25, 2008
Balloons give rise to new solar
Tie a balloon to a generator and it
produces electricity as it rises. If the balloon's hot air comes from
sunlight the electricity is clean and relatively inexpensive.
The technique relies on heating air with sunlight and channeling
the hot air into a balloon. As the balloon rises, its cable unspools
from a windlass that rotates a generator like those used in wind turbines.
As the balloon rises into the atmosphere the air inside cools, which
reduces the amount of energy required to haul the balloon back in.
The result is a net gain in electricity.
Balloon solar electricity could supplement wind turbines on
Air Balloon Engine
Renewable Energy, published online August 16, 2008
Balloon Engines to Meet Renewable Energy Targets -- project page
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