High-Altitude Wind Power

Summary:

Materials were purchased to build and fly a turbine, and to log the resulting power generated. This student research project sought to determine the feasibility of small-scale high-altitude wind power in Lorain County.

Background premise:

Although conventional wind turbines are a promising source of renewable energy, their construction and power-generating capabilities are limited. High-altitude wind is more consistent and does not slow down at night. A tethered balloon is ideal to experiment with because it can be adjusted to fly at any altitude and can be tethered nearly anywhere.

Cost-benefit estimation:

By finding this research project, the Green EDGE Fund is leveraging a modest amount of money to learn valuable information about the potential for a new source of renewable energy in and around Oberlin, something the City and College have long been seeking. This project will result in data that can be directly compared to the costs and benefits of coal power. Though this turbine will be produced on a small scale and with volunteer labor, the amount of power generated will allow high-altitude wind turbines to conventional ones.

Additional benefits:

By using a data logger and anemometer, this research will contribute to the work being done by others in the Oberlin community to determine what the most effective source of renewable energy for the City might be.

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