Solar Balloons Could Soon Soar
Friday, 18 Dec 2015

We’ve reported on space-based solar farms before, where orbiting satellite arrays beam uninterrupted energy back to Earth via microwave or incredibly huge electrical cables.

Source: http://www.energymatters.com.au/renewable-news/solar-electricity-balloons-em5257/

A French researcher has suggested a simpler method of unimpeded solar electricity production: ‘solar balloons’.

The idea, according to electro-chemist Professor Jean-François Guillemoles, is to rise above the pesky clouds that hamper the production of solar energy by using hydrogen-filled polymer balloons fitted with solar cells.

“The main problem with photovoltaic energy is that sunlight can be obscured by clouds, which makes electrical production intermittent and uncertain. But above the cloud cover, the sun shines all day, every day,” Professor Guillemoles says.

“Anywhere above the planet, there are very few clouds at an altitude of 6 km—and none at all at 20 km. Under these conditions, the energy source is five times more abundant than on the ground, and production is entirely predictable. So why not send solar cells up above the clouds, where the sun always shines?”

The concept would involve mounting solar panels on high-altitude polymer balloons, which could be tethered to the ground or float free. During the day, electricity would be sent back to earth via cable or transmitter, with a portion of the current producing hydrogen from an attached fuel cell. At night, the fuel cell takes over, providing 24-hour energy.

“A moored high-altitude balloon of reasonable size could store about 10 days equivalent of its own solar electricity production, which is more than enough to meet energy needs overnight, until production resumes in the morning,” Professor Guillemoles says.

Professor Guillemoles states solar balloons could help address an issue raised at the COP21 climate summit in Paris: the need for a vast scaling-up in the deployment of renewable energy in order for clean technologies to make a significant difference in the global energy mix. Under this scenario, solar would need to provide around one terawatt of continuous electric power worldwide.

The professor admits his concept may sound outlandish, but a consortium named NextPV has been formed by the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and Tokyo University to explore the possibility of launching a prototype solar balloon. A seminar on the project was held at the French Embassy in Tokyo in September.

It’s not just solar power that could perhaps benefit from not being terrestrially-bound – check out theAltaeros airborne wind turbine.

More Articles

Could Solar Energy Be Next California\'s Cash Crop?

Could Solar Energy Be Next California\'s Cash Crop?

29 Thursday 2016
IBM Solar Collector Magnifies Sun By 2000X – These Could Provide Power To The Entire Planet

IBM Solar Collector Magnifies Sun By 2000X – These Could Provide Power To The Entire Planet

25 Sunday 2016
New Scientific Study Says Solar Can Already Generate More Energy Than Oil

New Scientific Study Says Solar Can Already Generate More Energy Than Oil

19 Monday 2016
There is a power revolution heading for our homes

There is a power revolution heading for our homes

19 Monday 2016
See-Through Solar Could Turn Windows, Phones Into Power Sources

See-Through Solar Could Turn Windows, Phones Into Power Sources

07 Wednesday 2016
Future Solar Panels Will Generate Energy From Raindrops

Future Solar Panels Will Generate Energy From Raindrops

07 Wednesday 2016
Bill Gates Explainer: Energy Equation

Bill Gates Explainer: Energy Equation

28 Monday 2016
TED: How do solar panels work? - Richard Komp

TED: How do solar panels work? - Richard Komp

24 Thursday 2016
90MW Battery Storage Project Inaugurated In Germany

90MW Battery Storage Project Inaugurated In Germany

22 Tuesday 2016
Tesla’s solar roof to cost less than a regular roof

Tesla’s solar roof to cost less than a regular roof

21 Monday 2016
Mercedes-Benz Energy Storage.

Mercedes-Benz Energy Storage.

15 Tuesday 2016
Virginia Tech flexible solar panel goes where silicon can not.

Virginia Tech flexible solar panel goes where silicon can not.

14 Monday 2016
Energy On a Sphere

Energy On a Sphere

10 Thursday 2016
Spreading their wings: AICA leads the way into ‘greener pastures’

Spreading their wings: AICA leads the way into ‘greener pastures’

05 Thursday 2016
SunPower Breaks World Record for Efficient Solar Panels

SunPower Breaks World Record for Efficient Solar Panels

22 Monday 2016
Explained: The Tesla Powerwall and what it means for Australias energy market

Explained: The Tesla Powerwall and what it means for Australias energy market

02 Tuesday 2016
Taste of Tasmania by Tesla Model S85: 10 days energized with renewable energy

Taste of Tasmania by Tesla Model S85: 10 days energized with renewable energy

20 Wednesday 2016
India\'s solar surge may slash coal imports

India\'s solar surge may slash coal imports

04 Monday 2016
AICA Energy

Solar Balloons Could Soon Soar

18 Friday 2015
Paris climate deal: Historic climate change agreement reached at COP21

Paris climate deal: Historic climate change agreement reached at COP21

12 Saturday 2015
Barcaldine solar farm expected to provide about 10pc of Australia\'s large-scale solar electricity

Barcaldine solar farm expected to provide about 10pc of Australia\'s large-scale solar electricity

10 Thursday 2015
Tesla home solar battery hits Australia

Tesla home solar battery hits Australia

10 Thursday 2015
Minister feels heat of solar flare-up

Minister feels heat of solar flare-up

02 Wednesday 2015
Is installing solar panels on your home still worth the cost?

Is installing solar panels on your home still worth the cost?

17 Tuesday 2015
LG Chem pushes Australian battery storage prices further down the curve

LG Chem pushes Australian battery storage prices further down the curve

23 Thursday 2015

Request for Free Consultation