"Airborne Wind Energy - Harnessing a Vast, Untapped Renewable Energy Source"
At just 500 m above the ground, the average power density of the wind is double that at 100 m where wind turbines typically reside. This makes high-altitude wind one of the most concentrated forms of renewable energy after hydro-power. Building conventional wind turbines at this height is uneconomical, which begs the question: how do we harness this concentrated and completely untapped resource?
Makani Power is developing a novel airborne wind turbine (AWT), which consists of a turbine-carrying aircraft that is tethered to the ground. Propelled by the wind, the AWT travels in a circular path (similar to the tip of a conventional wind turbine blade). Power is extracted from this motion by wing-mounted turbines and transferred to the ground via high-voltage lines in the tether. Due to the efficient use of material in this design and the higher capacity factors afforded by the faster, steadier winds at altitude, we expect this system to have a levelized cost of electricity below that of conventional wind turbines.
The Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory 2012-2013 Colloquium Committee is comprised of the following people. Please feel free to contact them by e-mail regarding any possible speakers or topics for future colloquia.