Alternative Energy-Solar Energy - Exactly what are Solar Balloons?
This past year a distinctive concept in alternative energy won the "Forward Thinking" award inside the RE:VOLT Electrifying Ideas competition. That which was this break through? Solar balloons produced by Israeli scientists Joseph Cory and Dr. Pini Gurfil for Sun Hope.
What exactly are Solar Balloons?
Historically the word "solar balloon" has referred to simple black balloons which are stuffed with air. In accordance with Wikipedia, "as sunlight shines about the balloon, air inside is heated and expands, causing an upward buoyancy force, just like an artificially-heated hot air balloon. Some solar balloons are large enough for human flight, but usage is fixed towards the toy market because the surface-area to payload-weight ratio is rather high."
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As technology evolves, terminology evolves as well. Now the title of "solar balloon" also can reference a balloon like "platform" made up of embedded photovoltaic arrays or solar arrays so that you can convert solar technology into electrical power. In the case of 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 floor with two cables Body for helium refills, another for passing generated electricity to some cpanel.
Sun Hope isn't alone in their search for an affordable, functional solar balloon design. Another solar balloon design comes from Cool Earth Solar. Cool Earth Solar uses plastic balloons which can be suspended on wires. To obtain a visual, visualize a 2 meter wide mylar balloon. These plastic balloons have concentrated solar photovoltaics where light is magnified onto solar panels to increase electricity generation output. A typical concern about solar balloons is the ability to remain true in high wind environments, according to Cool Earth Solar, their system can withstand wind speeds all the way to 100 miles per hour.
While solar balloons show promise being a photovoltaic implementation there are many concerns to become noted. These concerns however, aren't diverse from those found with medium to large wind power installations. Based on the scale and site of installation you can have to consider things like air traffic regulations and potential bird collisions.
Solar balloons provide impressive value in isolated, off-grid locations as well as temporary portable power supplies. In situations like these, solar balloons supply a path to escaping a fossil fuel dependency.
Concentrating Solar technology
In both of instances of solar balloons, the efficiency with the pv cells are improved by concentrating solar technology (CSP). According to the US United states doe, "concentrating solar power's relatively inexpensive and talent to supply power in times of peak demand - to view the leonids we'd like it - imply that it could be a major cause of the nation's future needs for distributed sources of energy."
Concentrating solar energy system work by using mirrors or other reflective surfaces to intensify the vitality with the sun into a specific point. This energy energy can improve the efficiency of pv cells. As outlined by Cool Earth Solar, "multi-junction, high quality cells based on satellite technology allow CPV systems to get the same volume of electricity as traditional flat panel PV systems when using approximately 500 times less solar panel material." With diminishing supplies of raw materials forced to manufacture solar cells, concentrating solar power provides more energy with less raw materials.
While today solar balloons can be a new technology, in the future they are often a strategy to curing our nation of it's reliance on standard fuels. The Cool Earth team recently received $21 million they will prefer to use to develop a 10 megawatt plant making use of their solar balloon technology. Thanks to forward thinking, environmentally aware investors, a solar balloon based solar technology plant is often a reality over the following several years, someday it may even power your property.