Altaeros Energies, a wind energy company formed out of MIT, announced that its Alaska demonstration project is set to break the world record for the highest wind turbine ever deployed. The $1.3 million, eighteen-month project will deploy the Altaeros BAT(Buoyant Airborne Turbine) at a height 1,000 feet above ground.
The BAT uses a helium-filled, inflatable shell to lift to high altitudes where winds are stronger and more consistent than those reached by traditional tower-mounted turbines. High strength tethers hold the BAT steady and send electricity down to the ground. Aerostats are rated to survive hurricane-level winds. In 2013, Altaeros successfully tested a BAT prototype in 45 mph winds and at a height of 500 feet at its test site in Maine.
Investment into the high altitude wind sector has recently gained momentum with the acquisition of U.S.-based Makani Power by Google in 2013. Recent investment in EU airborne wind energy companies has included 3M’s funding of Nature Technology Systems (Germany), DSM Venturing’s funding of SkySails (Germany), KLM Royal Dutch Airlines’ funding of Ampyx Power (The Netherlands), and Sabic Ventures’ funding of KiteGen (Italy).
About Altaeros Altaeros Energies was founded in 2010 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to harness high altitude winds to deploy low cost power. Altaeros won the 2011 ConocoPhillips Energy Prize, and has been funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Research programs. Additional support has come from the Alaska Energy Authority, the California Energy Commission, the Maine Technology Institute, and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center. Altaeros has operations in Somerville, Massachusetts; Limestone, Maine; and Rio Negrinho, Brazil.
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