Air-based vs. sea-based power generation

By | April 25, 2012
With Japan considering putting wind turbines out at sea, and now this MIT troupe putting wind turbines in the air, I am starting to wonder: is it more effective to generate energy at sea or in air? Clearly, solar cells above the clouds have an advantage in solar availability – but what are the costs for construction and maintenance to withstand the two harsh environments? How would power be transported back to Earth? And how reliable are the energy sources employed?

Helium-filled floating wind turbine, renewable energy with style
There’s no doubting that the cause of renewable energy is a noble one. But, ethics aside, it also gives birth to the

4 thoughts on “Air-based vs. sea-based power generation

  1. John Bump

    Water has 1000 times the density of air, so you can get a lot more power density out of it. But as you say, it's a lot more corrosive. Most of the tethered power generation systems I've seen just use the tethers for power transmission, which is fine until a tether breaks, so I dunno. The suggestions I've seen for orbital power generation usually involve beaming it down in a somewhat coherent beam, but then you're right back to the cloud problem (and a transmission distance problem.)
    There isn't anything like an easy answer.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.