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TIME mag Best Inventions of 2008

#35. Airborne Wind Power

As you get higher, the wind gets stronger. Harvesting just 1% of those high-altitude breezes could produce enough power for everyone on Earth. That’s what Sky Windpower aims to do. The San Diego company — founded by a scientist who got his start breaking codes during World War II — is designing flying wind turbines that could harness the jet stream. It’s the definition of high tech.


What TIME magazine didn’t know, mostly because the development team keeps a rather low profile ( while doing some rather cool engineering ) and is astounding. It is now known as BaseloadEnergy and no longer simply SKYwindpower. Some of the fundamental background on it’s inception as a concept is here: http://www.skywindpower.com/ww/index.htm but the real deal is in the hands of multiple world-class engineering teams and led by David Resnick of www.BaseloadEnergy.com


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4 Responses to “TIME mag Best Inventions of 2008”

  1. 1GF Birdon 26 Dec 2008 at 12:57 pm

    Lovely idea . . . just a few issues to resolve.

    The Jet Stream is not the Jet layer. Anyone watching the TV weather forecast knows the Jet Stream shifts around vertically and horizontally, varies in strength, and sometimes unpredictably and violently as many have experienced in flight, though generally, its laminar characteristics almost always exceed winds closer to the ground. The video’s graphic of Jet Streams shows the undulating nature of the streams.

    So, keeping the device at the proper level and position in a Jet Stream to maximize gain would be a trick, because once out of the Jet Stream, gravity would bring in down from the predictable range of levels to be engaged by a Jet Stream and require re-insertion.

    The light tether and conductor might, if not kept taut in a descent, tangle in the rotors. And installation would require large open spaces excluding airplanes and without structures that may be damaged in a descent.

    Keep this one privately funded.

  2. 2greenion 02 Jan 2009 at 12:06 pm

    Thanks for the comment and yes you echo what we hear a lot. Athena Rockwell-Collins is the tech company for avionics for this, in fact the lead designer and CEO is one of the voices at the end. They design avionics for UAV and such and fully understand the jetflows. They are confident, since the powerderop tether can also power up allowing it to fly anywhere it wants like a helicopter kite.

    The real trick is the powerdrop tether, and i cant tell you what that is about since its in patent process now, but it is the real advancement of this project. Enormous power generation, but it has to get to the ground, and the wind drag on the tether is one of the flight positioning challenges that is instrumented by the Athena avionics.


  3. 3Ecologicon 02 Jan 2009 at 12:11 pm

    That voice at the end is Athena founder and CEO, Dr. David Vos
    There is no one on the planet more qualified to design and support avionics this project.

  4. 4Jeffon 02 Jan 2009 at 12:16 pm

    Yup, i heard him talk about it, and it was interesting that he is most engaged by the requirements to have a couple dozen aloft at once, that really means one smart farm avionic architecture. You could tell he loved this stuff by the way he spoke about that part, system redundancy needs and tethered flight.

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