Research: High-Altitude Wind Could Increase Global Power Output 100-Fold
September 10, 2012 2:04 PM
comment(s) - last by
Researchers estimate there's potential for 1,800 TW of wind power
Using advanced computer simulations, researchers at
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Carnegie Mellon University
studied how much power could be feasibly extracted from atmospheric wind and what the effects on climate would be.
Many think that high-altitude wind
could offer dramatic cost savings over ground-based wind by tapping into powerful currents like the jet stream. Indeed the team, led by LLNL researcher
Professor Katherine Marvel
, found that while surface winds could only theoretically yield 400 terawatts of annual power production, high-altitude winds could yield up to 1,800 terawatts.
That's 100-times the current global power consumption of approximately 18 terawatts.
High-altitude winds could be captured by using gas-filled inflatables (or kites) with turbines mounted on them. One factor the team did not look at was price. Price remains an issue for high-altitude wind harvest,
-- the most convenient gas for floaters -- is growing scarce.
The current research focused more on the environmental impact. As wind turbines slow the air travelling over them, as they harvest its mechanical energy, they can have a climate impact. But the team estimates that if they were well distributed, even at 1,800 terawatts, the impact would only be a 0.1 degree Celsius change in temperatures and a 1 percent change in precipitation.
Researchers' models indicate that atmospheric wind harvesting may not have a serious adverse impact on the climate. [Image Source: Nature Climate Change]
This indicates that assuming costs can be worked out, high-altitude wind shouldn't have much of an adverse impact on the global climate. Of course, such models
are prone to error
, so it's best to take the study with a grain of salt.
The work, funded by the Carnegie Institution of Science, is
[abstract] in the peer-reviewed journal
Nature Climate Change
, CMU professor and the paper's senior author, comments [press release], "Looking at the big picture, it is more likely that economic, technological or political factors will determine the growth of wind power around the world, rather than geophysical limitations."
Nature Climate Change
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: Hydrogen is cheaper
9/11/2012 9:05:33 PM
Nuclear is not cheap. That's a myth. Nuclear advocates always like to pretend that nuclear waste management is a trivial issue, which it's not. Another hugely overlooked issue is fuel. There's not enough of it being mined to feed current demand, let alone an increased demand.
RE: Hydrogen is cheaper
9/11/2012 11:10:33 PM
Nuclear plants are not cheap, no one would suggest otherwise! Then again, Exxon and others spend tens of billions on individual oil projects, so accumulating that sort of capital for individual projects is by no means beyond the ability of markets.
However, nuclear waste management SHOULD be trivial. Jesus, drill an extremely deep hole in decently hard rock, several miles down, with technology that already exists, stuff it down, pour some concrete in behind it, backfill in some rock, and there you go. Radioactive waste, stored until hell freezes over, miles below the water table. By the time tectonics or erosion gets to it, it'd be inert. If future humans get to it by mistake, then they're idiots that went to a lot of trouble just to re-discover what radiation sickness is.
Or, put it on a ship. Sail ship over underwater trenches. Push it overboard. A few unfortunate fish on the way down, and then it'd be securely at rest somewhere no humans are ever likely to go. The only thing stopping reasonable solutions from being done is FUD from the greens/leftists.
Fuel, if you're familiar with the issue, is also a non-issue. It's not mined because Russia, as I understand it, dumped huge amounts on the market some years back. Once prices bounce high enough, mining will resume; there's tons of shuttered uranium mines in the US alone. Could also switch to abundant thorium, or reprocess fuel to a large degree. No matter what, fuel input costs are a tiny part of nuclear plants operation costs.
Feel free to try again, though!
RE: Hydrogen is cheaper
9/16/2012 9:33:58 PM
Nuclear power is terrifyingly expensive, which is why there are no nuclear plants in the USA which weren't subsidized by the government.
No power company is going to take a 15-20 billion dollar risk without some federal backing and assurances they will be able to legally get out of hazardous waste storage and disposal costs.
"This is about the Internet. Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis
Altaeros Touts "Green" Helium Wind Turbine Amid Global Helium Shortage
March 30, 2012, 7:51 AM
Study Finds "Huge Discrepancy" Between Hard Data and Warming Models
July 29, 2011, 12:53 AM
Google Wants to Help America Ditch Fossil Fuels, Go Renewable
November 30, 2007, 2:33 PM
Cool Science Video: Glowing Millipede Prowls the Nevada Desert
May 18, 2015, 12:00 PM
Newly Discovered Costa Rican Glass Frog is Kermit's Doppelgänger
April 22, 2015, 11:26 AM
Researchers Hope to Find "Exotic" Lifeforms Inside Crater of Dinosaur Killing Meteor
April 14, 2015, 8:47 PM
Mathematician's Sociological Formulation May Explain the "Hipster Paradox"
April 14, 2015, 1:13 PM
Cool Science Video: This is What a McDonald's Burger Looks Like in Your Stomach
April 7, 2015, 1:43 PM
Fraud Artist Engineered Stunning UK Jailbreak Via Typosquatting, Email
April 4, 2015, 2:57 PM
Most Popular Articles
America's Largest Cable Company, Comcast, Sees Internet Subscriptions Pass TV
May 4, 2015, 2:46 PM
Can id Software's Doom Find Its Way Out of a 7+ Year Development Hell?
May 19, 2015, 7:38 PM
Oculus Rift Confirms "Pause" in OS X, Linux Development, Some Devs are Mad
May 18, 2015, 11:36 PM
The Pirate Bay Loses Its Iconic Swedish Dot SE Domains
May 20, 2015, 6:31 PM
In-Depth: Apple's ~$1B Court Victory Over Samsung to be Cut up to a Third
May 18, 2015, 9:20 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2015 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information