Cloud EnergyWednesday 27th August 2014
Blimps could be the future for our energy needs - how? By netting the water vapour from the clouds then using that for hydro electricity generation and a supply of clean water. Sounds all a little sci-fi or even sci-fantasy, airships, or balloons tethered to the ground, floating int he air for energy!
It is a serious proposal from Air HES (HydroElectric Station), who have been thinking and developing this very idea - and when you look at what they say, it makes a lot of sense.
Solar energy reaching the planet is about 10,000 times greater than the needs of humanity. About a quarter of it goes to the evaporation of water, mainly accumulating in the atmosphere, at any point around the world. Since the annual precipitation is about 1 m of rainfall with an average height of 5 km, this gives a potential capacity of about 810 TW, which is more than 60 times greater than all the current needs of earth’s inhabitants (13-16 TW).”
Standard hydroelectricity can only use a small fraction of this water based energy, because all precipitation loses most of its potential energy on the way to the ground overcoming the air resistance. In order to harvest this potential energy it is necessary to collect the water at altitude, where it condenses, and the use all that vertical hydraulic head pressure by redirecting the collected water down a lightweight pipe to a running from the airship to the ground.
The designers reckon the pressure will be great enough to turn a turbine to generate the energy, with the water directed for the use of local inhabitants.
Air HES have flown a prototype, scaled down, of their blimp and water vapour collection system, producing around 4 L (1.05 gal) of water per hour for each square meter of vapour collecting mesh at 4,000 ft (1,200 m). They did not attempt to run a scaled down turbine of this test model.
It seems a fascinating idea - renewable energy front he clouds, and looking at their video I assume that if you are the downwind of their ‘cloud’ collecting net you are not so likely to be rained upon!
Check out Air HES’s video:
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/5u0-YUltih0?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>iframe>
Source: Air HES
Wednesday 27th August 2014