Alternative Energy-Solar Energy - Exactly what are Solar Balloons?
Recently a unique concept in renewable energy won the "Forward Thinking" award from the RE:VOLT Electrifying Ideas competition. That which was this break through? Solar balloons put together by Israeli scientists Joseph Cory and Dr. Pini Gurfil for Sun Hope.
Precisely what are Solar Balloons?
Historically the word "solar balloon" has known simple black balloons that have been stuffed with air. As outlined by Wikipedia, "as sunlight shines on the balloon, mid-air inside is heated and expands, causing an upward buoyancy force, similar to an artificially-heated hot air balloon. Some solar balloons are just right for human flight, but usage is fixed to the toy market because the surface-area to payload-weight ratio is very high."
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As technology evolves, terminology evolves as well. Now the title of "solar balloon" can also make reference to a balloon like "platform" which has embedded photovoltaic arrays or solar arrays so that you can convert solar technology into electricity. When it comes to the Joseph Cory and Dr. Pini Gurfil's Sun Hope design we view a lighter-than-air helium filled fabric balloon as the platform or base. Each fabric balloon is tied to the ground with two cables - one for helium refills, the opposite for passing generated electricity with a user interface.
Sun Hope isn't alone of their pursuit of a cost effective, functional solar balloon design. Another solar balloon design comes from Cool Earth Solar. Cool Earth Solar uses plastic balloons which are suspended on wires. To get a visual, make a 2 meter wide mylar balloon. These plastic balloons also provide concentrated solar photovoltaics where light is magnified onto cells to increase electricity generation output. A standard worry about solar balloons is capability to fully stand up in high wind environments, according to Cool Earth Solar, their system can withstand wind speeds up to 100 mile per hour.
While solar balloons show promise like a photovoltaic implementation there are many concerns being noted. These concerns however, aren't diverse from those found with medium to large wind power installations. Depending upon the size and of installation one could ought to consider things like air traffic regulations and potential bird collisions.
Solar balloons provide impressive value in isolated, off-grid locations along with temporary portable power supplies. In situations honestly, solar balloons supply a option to escaping a fossil fuel dependency.
Concentrating Solar energy
In the of types of solar balloons, the efficiency with the photovoltaic cells are improved by concentrating solar power (CSP). Based on the US Department of Energy, "concentrating solar power's relatively inexpensive and skill to provide power during times of peak demand - where and when we need it - imply that it can be a major contributor to the nation's future needs for distributed options for energy."
Concentrating solar technology system work by using mirrors and other reflective surfaces to accentuate the energy from the sun to some specific point. This power of energy can enhance the efficiency of photovoltaic cells. As outlined by Cool Earth Solar, "multi-junction, high quality cells derived from satellite technology allow CPV systems to create exactly the same volume of electricity as traditional lcd PV systems while using the around 500 times less solar cell material." With diminishing resources of unprocessed trash forced to manufacture solar cells, concentrating solar technology provides more energy with less garbage.
While today solar balloons certainly are a new technology, in the future they could be an answer to curing our nation of it's attachment to non-renewable fuels. The Cool Earth team recently received $21 million which they plan to use to create a ten megawatt plant using their solar balloon technology. Due to forward thinking, environment concerned investors, a solar balloon based solar energy plant can be a reality within the next couple of years, someday it might even power your property.