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The BAT harnesses extreme high-altitude winds to generate sustainable energy.

A new helium-filled wind turbine that floats 1,000 feet in the air has been proven to generate twice as much power as a conventional turbine tower. Designed and built by the startup Altaeros Energies, the floating wind turbine can also provide data coverage, cell service and local weather data to remote communities.

The inflatable power plant can make use of winds five to eight times more powerful than those found at a few hundred feet, which is the average height for a traditional wind turbine. Cables tethered to the ground not only provide a way to send power back down to Earth, but also secure the blimp – which is tough enough to withstand severe weather conditions.

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As reported by TreeHugger, Ben Glass, the Altaeros CEO explains:

For decades, wind turbines have required cranes and huge towers to lift a few hundred feet off the ground where winds can be slow and gusty. We are excited to demonstrate that modern inflatable materials can lift wind turbines into more powerful winds almost everywhere—with a platform that is cost competitive and easy to setup from a shipping container

In addition to remote parts of the world, the Buoyant Airborne Turbine (BAT) will also be able to provide relief in disaster-stricken areas. Before it can be deployed around the world, the technology will undergo a real world test to supply power and cell phone services to the city of Fairbanks, Alaska.

The idea’s potential to increase output and reduce energy costs has already attracted funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the California Energy Commission, and most recently, a $1.3 million grant from the the Alaska Energy Authority.

To learn more about this amazing piece of technology, check out the video below.

Altaeros Energies

[h/t] Inhabitat, TreeHugger

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