Wind Power Goes Sky-High

Altaeros is on the way up.

The Boston-based renewable energy startup said in a press release that it has successfully tested a prototype of its airborne wind turbine — a jet engine-shaped, helium-filled balloon with a conventional wind turbine inside. 

In the prototype test, the device was tethered to a transmission cable and lifted to 350 feet, where, according to the company, it produced more than twice the power than a typical tower-mounted one. The technology is designed to capture wind at over 1,000 feet.

“For decades, wind turbines have required cranes and huge towers to lift a few hundred feet off the ground where winds can be slow and gusty,” said Altaeros CEO Ben Glass. “We are excited to demonstrate that modern inflatable materials can lift wind turbines into more powerful winds almost everywhere — with a platform that is cost competitive and easy to setup from a shipping container.”

According to Altaeros, the airborne wind turbine requires minimal maintenance and can be set-up in a matter of a few days, making it a potentially ideal energy solution for remote locations like small villages and military sites. After its successful demonstration, Altaeros is now hoping to find some partners to make the AWT a commercial reality.

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