Alternative Energy-Solar Energy - What exactly are Solar Balloons?
Last year an exceptional concept in sustainable energy won the "Forward Thinking" award within the RE:VOLT Electrifying Ideas competition. What was this new idea? Solar balloons manufactured by Israeli scientists Joseph Cory and Dr. Pini Gurfil for Sun Hope.
Exactly what are Solar Balloons?
Historically the term "solar balloon" has known simple black balloons which were full of air. As outlined by Wikipedia, "as sunlight shines for the balloon, the air inside is heated and expands, causing an upward buoyancy force, just like an artificially-heated heat balloon. Some solar balloons are just right for human flight, but usage is restricted towards the toy market since the surface-area to payload-weight ratio is very high."
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As technology evolves, terminology evolves also. The title of "solar balloon" also can talk about a balloon like "platform" that contains embedded photovoltaic arrays or solar arrays to be able to convert solar panel technology into electricity. Regarding the Joseph Cory and Dr. Pini Gurfil's Sun Hope design we view a lighter-than-air helium filled fabric balloon since the platform or base. Each fabric balloon is linked with the bottom with two cables - one for helium refills, another for passing generated electricity into a control panel.
Sun Hope isn't alone of their search for an affordable, functional solar balloon design. Another solar balloon design arises from Cool Earth Solar. Cool Earth Solar uses plastic balloons which can be suspended on wires. To get a visual, create a 2 meter wide mylar balloon. These plastic balloons also provide concentrated solar photovoltaics where light is magnified onto cells to maximize electricity generation output. A common worry about solar balloons is power to remain true in high wind environments, as outlined by Cool Earth Solar, their system can withstand wind speeds of up to 100 mph.
While solar balloons show promise as a photovoltaic implementation there are some concerns to get noted. These concerns however, are not any diverse from those found with medium to large wind power installations. Based upon the dimensions and placement of installation one may ought to consider stuff 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 like these, solar balloons provide a path to escaping a fossil fuel dependency.
Concentrating Solar technology
In of examples of solar balloons, the efficiency of the photovoltaic cells are improved by concentrating solar technology (CSP). In accordance with the US Doe, "concentrating solar power's relatively inexpensive and talent to offer power in periods of peak demand - location we'd like it - imply that it's really a major reason for the nation's future needs for distributed sources of energy."
Concentrating solar energy system work by making use of mirrors or another reflective surfaces to intensify the vitality from the sun into a specific point. This power energy can increase the efficiency of solar cells. In accordance with Cool Earth Solar, "multi-junction, best quality cells produced by satellite technology allow CPV systems to create precisely the same amount of electricity as traditional lcd PV systems while using the approximately 500 times less solar cell material." With diminishing resources of unprocessed trash forced to manufacture photovoltaic cells, concentrating solar powered energy offers more energy with less recycleables.
While today solar balloons are a new technology, sooner they may be a solution to curing our nation of it's dependence on fossil fuels. The Cool Earth team recently received $21 million that they plan to use to develop a ten megawatt plant using their solar balloon technology. Due to forward thinking, environmentally conscious investors, a solar balloon based solar technology plant may be a reality in the next several years, someday it might even power your property.