Airloom Energy, an American start-up, has introduced a groundbreaking wind energy technology that has captured the interest of Breakthrough Energy Ventures, led by Bill Gates.
The Laramie, Wyoming, company claims to have developed an innovative and cost-effective wind energy system that features wings propelled along a lightweight track. These 10-meter-tall wings swiftly move across the track, which can span from a few meters to miles. Meanwhile, 25-meter-tall towers are secured using a patented bridling system.
The system has been compared to a carousel.
Airloom asserts that its Gates-sponsored wind carousel will have a quarter of the capital costs of traditional wind farms. In addition, it will have a levelized cost of energy (LCOE) that is 67% less than traditional wind energy. The LCOE is anticipated to be $US 0.013/kWh.
Furthermore, Airloom’s wind track is extremely flexible. A 2.5 MW Airloom system could be transported using a standard tractor trailer.
The Airloom wind track can be configured to optimize siting, viewplane, and usage, without the need for large concrete foundations during commissioning. The reduction in weight and materials also leads to minimized landfill impacts at the end of the system’s lifespan.
According to Renew Economy, Airloom is currently operating a 50 kW test device.
The company has secured $US 4 million in seed funding from Breakthrough Energy Ventures to further advance research and development of the test device. Carmichael Roberts, the co-lead of Breakthrough Energy Ventures’ investment committee, believes Airloom’s unique approach can resolve challenges in siting and material costs faced by the wind industry.
The Airloom wind track is one of many exciting wind innovations that’s currently under development.
A start-up called Altaeros is working on a helium-filled, inflatable wind turbine that can rise high into the atmosphere. High altitude winds are stronger than winds close to the Earth’s surface. Therefore, Altaeros’s inflatable turbine can produce more than double the energy of a standard turbine. The company launched a pilot project in Alaska in 2020.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates that technological innovations could increase America’s wind power capacity by 80% over the next decade.
Image Source: Recharge News