BLIMP ENERGY Harnessing the Wind without sacrificing our Environment

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GBK Associates (GBKA) is an engineering firm engaged in the development of helium filled blimps (patent pending) to gather wind energy from high elevations at a fraction of the cost of ground based wind turbines.  The blimp’s ability to access high elevation winds is a key advantage for generating maximum power ( 64 times more wind energy is available at an altitude of 13 km compared to 10m; This is a gigantic renewable and free energy source. (Ref. Science and Technolody,v.2, p.265)).   In addition the novel shape of the blimp and the unique means for gathering, transmitting and generating power provide clear advantages over wind turbines and other competing technologies. 

The wind generated global capacity is expected to double over the next five years; about 255 GW and total cumulative capacity of 493 GW. (ref. (GWEC)  04/17/12 Annual Market Update report).  A large portion is expected to be from off shore wind farms.  Since blimps can fly at high altitude, they are nearly invisible and silent thereby overcoming aesthetic concerns by local residents of these areas.  In addition bird kills are eliminated and much less land is needed for wind farms.

Given the market for wind energy and the clear advantages of blimps GBKA expects to capture a significant share of wind energy revenues in the next decade. 


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Wind Energy Production Using Blimps and Ground Mounted Power Generators (patent pending)

ABSTRACT

Systems and methods are described for creating low cost energy using blimps connected to ground mounted equipment.   In power mode the blimps generate maximum energy by positioning the blimp at a high angle of attack relative to wind direction.  The blimp is allowed to travel a distance limited only by the length of line attached.  The opposite end of the line is attached to a reel capable of turning a shaft to create mechanical or electrical energy. Upon reaching a controlled length, the blimp is repositioned to a minimum angle of attack relative to the wind to minimize energy required to retrieve the blimp.  The shaft rotation is then reversed thereby winding the line on the reel.   Energy is expended in retrieval mode.  The difference in energy during power and retrieval mode is the net energy gain available for useful work.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION--FIELD OF THE INVENTION:

This invention relates to production of sustainable energy, specifically generation of energy from wind using blimps connected to ground mounted generators.   

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION:

Currently windmills dominate the wind generation power industry.  Typically a propeller is directly connected to a generator.  Wind causes the propeller to spin thereby turning the generator and producing electrical energy.  Also windmills are used to drive pumps and other mechanical devices such as a pump.  A propeller is directly connected to a mechanical shaft that is linked to the pump.  The configuration and size of windmills varies. Old Dutch style windmills dating back hundreds of years are still in use in farm communities.  New high tech windmills with massive blades soaring a hundred feet in the air are in use in wind farms throughout the world. Windmills are objected to since they kill birds, produce noise and are unsightly. 

Windmills also are low in energy efficiency.  The small profile and drag of the propeller blade severely limits the energy that is transmitted to the shaft and generator.   During low velocity or rapidly changing wind directions, windmills propellers are either not turning or at an angle relative to wind direction such that little or no energy is generated.  Maintenance is a compounding problem.  Larger  blades generate vibration and premature failure.  These factors lower the potential for windmills to compete with other means for generating power.

Harnessing the energy of the wind by means of a blimp is nothing new.  Numerous inventions related to blimps and energy exists, yet none have provided a practical means of generating power.  Recent patents describe windmills and generators mounted within blimps and elevated to great heights.  Power is relayed to a ground mounted power grid for collection and distribution. All though these patents have been in existence for some time   No practical means of controlling power generation are provided.  

The object of the invention is to generate sustainable energy from wind in an environmentally friendly, energy efficient, aesthetically pleasing and cost effective means compared to turbine and other forms of wind power generating devices.  A brief comparison follows:

Description

Blimp Powered Generator

Wind Turbine

Efficiency

Highly efficient large cross sectional area results in high energy generation; Blimps can fly at high elevations where 20% to 50% higher wind velocity/energy is available

Limited efficiency.  Propeller cross section and size limited by mechanical strength of materials; Ground mounted is only practical application to date, lower wind velocity translates to less efficiency.

Environmental

No environmental issues; No bird kills

Numerous bird kills including endangered species

Aesthetics

Requires small footprint; blimps can be designed to fly high; materials can be transparent to naked eye; noise is very low - no high-pitched low frequency noise generated.

Requires large number over considerable area; not pleasing to view; noise is high pitch low frequency causing community concerns. 

Costs

Low cost due to lower capital, operating and maintenance

High cost for capital, operating and maintenance.

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