The idea to harvest energy from the sun, wind and water is not new. Power plants that use either the solar, the wind or the hydro-energy are all over the world. What is more innovative is when someone designs a way to harvest power from more sources at the same time. Sun and water turbines are already in place, but there is more to come.
An UK-based firm, New Wave Energy has an even bolder idea: they plan to build the first high altitude aerial power plant. By using unmanned drones they will be able to harvest energy from multiple sources. Afterwards, energy will be sent wirelessly to the stations that will be placed on the ground.
The firm has already applied for a patent for this new technology. Their aim is to have drone networks that will hover in the air. They will move from one place to another at low speed, tracking the sun at all times.
The drones will be set at high altitudes. The chance of weather interference is minimal since winds are stable at such altitudes. Drones will not disturb aerial traffic. The optimal altitude is considered 50,000 ft (15,000 m).
The drones will be made of four rotors, multiple wind turbines and a base for storing solar power. The drone will power itself with the energy it harvests. It will send 50 kW to the receiving stations. Company director Michael Burdett believes that an aerial power plant would be composed of thousands of drones. As a result, each power plant could produce up to 400 MW of power. This energy would be enough to sustain 205,000 houses annually.
The company started the project two years ago. As soon as they crowdfund £300,000 (US$500,000), they hope to have the first prototype finalized in six months. Would you support their aerial power plant?
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