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

The battle of the batteries: Which storage solution is best for you?

The battle of the batteries: Which storage solution is best for you?

26 Thursday 2018
Australia’s renewable energy capacity is set to exceed a target the Federal Government said was impossible to reach by 2020

Australia’s renewable energy capacity is set to exceed a target the Federal Government said was impossible to reach by 2020

25 Wednesday 2018
A WA suburb looks to trial a community energy storage scheme as energy bills are set to rise again

A WA suburb looks to trial a community energy storage scheme as energy bills are set to rise again

24 Tuesday 2018
AICA Energy

The solar battery basics you need to know before getting off the grid

24 Tuesday 2018
New poll on energy shows Australians want energy efficiency and lower bills

New poll on energy shows Australians want energy efficiency and lower bills

20 Friday 2018
Almost half of Sydney’s rooftops have the potential to be utilised for solar energy

Almost half of Sydney’s rooftops have the potential to be utilised for solar energy

20 Friday 2018
6 Things To Watch Out For When Investing In Solar

6 Things To Watch Out For When Investing In Solar

18 Wednesday 2018
Renewables on track to replace all coal, oil and gas within two decades

Renewables on track to replace all coal, oil and gas within two decades

18 Wednesday 2018
New South Wales at the forefront of the solar energy revolution

New South Wales at the forefront of the solar energy revolution

18 Wednesday 2018
The Greens push WA Government for renewable energy

The Greens push WA Government for renewable energy

12 Thursday 2018
The benefits of renewable solar-plus-battery technology for your home and your wallet

The benefits of renewable solar-plus-battery technology for your home and your wallet

12 Thursday 2018
Skyrocketing cost of electricity force NSW ratepayers to look towards renewable energy solutions

Skyrocketing cost of electricity force NSW ratepayers to look towards renewable energy solutions

12 Thursday 2018
The future of Australia’s solar industry is looking bright!

The future of Australia’s solar industry is looking bright!

11 Wednesday 2018
Renewable energy is generating more energy than coal and gas

Renewable energy is generating more energy than coal and gas

11 Wednesday 2018
Reasons Why You Need to Upgrade to LED Lights Today

Reasons Why You Need to Upgrade to LED Lights Today

04 Wednesday 2018
5 Quick Tips on How to Cut Your Light Usage!

5 Quick Tips on How to Cut Your Light Usage!

04 Wednesday 2018
5 Advantages of LED Lights

5 Advantages of LED Lights

04 Wednesday 2018
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

Request for Free Consultation