Alternative Energy-Solar Energy - Precisely what are Solar Balloons?
Recently an original concept in renewable power won the "Forward Thinking" award in the RE:VOLT Electrifying Ideas competition. The thing that was this new concept? Solar balloons developed by Israeli scientists Joseph Cory and Dr. Pini Gurfil for Sun Hope.
Exactly what are Solar Balloons?
Historically the phrase "solar balloon" has described simple black balloons which were full of air. As outlined by Wikipedia, "as sunlight shines around the balloon, mid-air inside is heated and expands, causing an upward buoyancy force, just like an artificially-heated hot air balloon. Some solar balloons are big enough for human flight, but usage is limited towards the toy market because surface-area to payload-weight ratio is pretty high."
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As technology evolves, terminology evolves also. Currently the title of "solar balloon" may also refer to a balloon like "platform" which has embedded photovoltaic arrays or solar arrays to be able to convert solar panel technology into electric power. Regarding the Joseph Cory and Dr. Pini Gurfil's Sun Hope design we percieve a lighter-than-air helium filled fabric balloon because the platform or base. Each fabric balloon is stuck just using the ground with two cables - one for helium refills, one other for passing generated electricity to some control panel.
Sun Hope isn't alone of their quest for an affordable, functional solar balloon design. Another solar balloon design emanates from Cool Earth Solar. Cool Earth Solar uses plastic balloons which are suspended on wires. To obtain a visual, create a 2 meter wide mylar balloon. These plastic balloons also provide concentrated solar photovoltaics where light is magnified onto solar panels to increase electricity generation output. A standard worry about solar balloons could be the capability to operate 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 to be noted. These concerns however, aren't any unique of those found with medium to large wind power installations. Dependant on the dimensions and location of installation it's possible to have to consider things like air traffic regulations and potential bird collisions.
Solar balloons provide impressive value in isolated, off-grid locations in addition to temporary portable power supplies. In situations genuinely, solar balloons provide a route to escaping a fossil fuel dependency.
Concentrating Solar technology
Both in of examples of solar balloons, the efficiency from the pv cells are improved by concentrating solar technology (CSP). In accordance with the US Us department of energy, "concentrating solar power's relatively affordable and ability to deliver power in times of peak demand - to view the leonids we want it - imply that it could be a major reason for the nation's future needs for distributed causes of energy."
Concentrating solar powered energy system work by making use of mirrors or another reflective surfaces to intensify the energy with the sun to some specific point. This concentration of energy can enhance the efficiency of electricity cells. In accordance with Cool Earth Solar, "multi-junction, high quality cells produced from satellite technology allow CPV systems to create the identical quantity of electricity as traditional flat panel PV systems when using up to 500 times less solar panel material." With diminishing supplies of garbage required to manufacture photovoltaic cells, concentrating solar power can provide more energy with less garbage.
While today solar balloons certainly are a new technology, sooner they may be an approach to curing our nation of it's reliance on non-renewable fuels. The Cool Earth team recently received $21 million they will intend to use to build a ten megawatt plant using their solar balloon technology. As a result of forward thinking, environmentally conscious investors, a solar balloon based solar power plant can be a reality over the following several years, someday it may even power your property.