Friday, April 11, 2008

Solar Balloons To Power Remote Areas?

"The idea is to take advantage of the height dimension. When you do that, you save a lot of land resources and can get to places otherwise hard to reach," said Pini Gurfil, the concept's developer.

The helium-filled balloons, covered with thin solar panels, hover as high as a few hundred metres in the air, and are connected via a wire cable to an inverter, which converts the electricity into a form households can use.

It will be about a year before the system is ready, Gurfil said. But initial research, both computerised and using a crude prototype, showed a balloon with a three metre (10 ft) diameter could provide about one kilowatt of energy, the same as 25 square metres (269 square feet) of traditional solar panels.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

3 square meters of thin, balloon-borne solar panels the equivalent of 25 meters of regular solar panels? Wow--must be of pretty efficient design. And the output is about a kilowatt? Does that mean one balloon system on average per rurual household?

That sure might make a small, rural village or farming valley look fairly odd, and interesting; "As we retreated far from the ruins of the urban landscape, we crested a ridge in our Land Rover and suddenly saw the promised land--with solar balloons, here and there, wafting mildly in the breeze. I was finally home."