High-altitude floating wind harvesters may replace your local windmills

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There have been some rumblings, so to speak, of the so-called low-frequency noises that windmills are said to produce. I’m don’t buy into them, but a bunch of spinning machines in your backyard isn’t desirable whether they cause nightmares or not. Furthermore, the wind they can harvest at ground level is weaker and less reliable than air currents above a few hundred feet. This floating wind harvester prototype is supposed to be an answer to those problems, and it looks pretty solid to me.

Yeah, this is pretty old, but you forget: a spinning electric zeppelin is forever. And we’re trying to get the taste of Apple out of our mouths.

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It’s essentially a big balloon that spins on a central axis — parallel to the wind instead of opposed to it, if I understand correctly. It’d be tethered to the ground, of course, and just send its power right on down that line. It has a few legs up on regular wind turbines: it works in a wider range of wind speeds, can be used in more places, and it can be moved around with less effort. Looks futuristic, too — people love that.

Of course, there are also numerous downsides (which Redditors are cataloging): Helium is expensive and the floats must be refilled. Storms could easily snap the cable, I’m guessing. Huge hazard for small aircraft (seaplanes for instance fly around 600-1000ft)…

Here’s a little video illustration showing how it works:

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