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07 Mar 2016
Energy and metering
This past year an exceptional concept in renewable energy won the "Forward Thinking" award within the RE:VOLT Electrifying Ideas competition. The thing that was this new idea? Solar balloons put together by Israeli scientists Joseph Cory and Dr. Pini Gurfil for Sun Hope.

RHI heat meters
Precisely what are Solar Balloons?

Historically the term "solar balloon" has known simple black balloons which were filled up with air. Based on Wikipedia, "as sunlight shines around the balloon, the air inside is heated and expands, causing an upward buoyancy force, comparable to an artificially-heated heat balloon. Some solar balloons are sufficient for human flight, but usage is limited towards the toy market because surface-area to payload-weight ratio is rather high."

As technology evolves, terminology evolves too. Currently the title of "solar balloon" may also reference a balloon like "platform" which contains embedded photovoltaic arrays or solar arrays to be able to convert solar technology into electric power. In the case of the Joseph Cory and Dr. Pini Gurfil's Sun Hope design we percieve a lighter-than-air helium filled fabric balloon because platform or base. Each fabric balloon is stuck just using the bottom with two cables - one for helium refills, the other for passing generated electricity with a cp.

Sun Hope isn't alone inside their pursuit of an inexpensive, functional solar balloon design. Another solar balloon design comes from Cool Earth Solar. Cool Earth Solar uses plastic balloons which are suspended on wires. To obtain a visual, visualize a 2 meter wide mylar balloon. These plastic balloons also have concentrated solar photovoltaics where light is magnified onto solar cells to increase electricity generation output. A common worry about solar balloons could be the power to operate in high wind environments, as outlined by Cool Earth Solar, their system can withstand wind speeds as high as 100 mph.

While solar balloons show promise as a photovoltaic implementation there are many concerns to be noted. These concerns however, are no diverse from those found with medium to large wind power installations. Depending upon the dimensions and location of installation it's possible to ought to consider things like air traffic regulations and potential bird collisions.

Solar balloons provide impressive value in isolated, off-grid locations and also temporary portable power supplies. In situations honestly, solar balloons supply a path to escaping a fossil fuel dependency.

Concentrating Solar technology

In the of examples of solar balloons, the efficiency with the electricity cells are improved by concentrating solar technology (CSP). Based on the US Us department of energy, "concentrating solar power's relatively low priced and ability to supply power in times of peak demand - to view the leonids we need it - imply it can be a major contributor to the nation's future needs for distributed options for energy."

Concentrating solar power system work through the use of mirrors or another reflective surfaces to intensify the energy of the sun with a specific point. This power of energy can help the efficiency of electricity cells. In accordance with Cool Earth Solar, "multi-junction, high quality cells produced from satellite technology allow CPV systems to create exactly the same amount of electricity as traditional flat panel PV systems while using the up to 500 times less solar cell material." With diminishing resources of unprocessed trash necessary to manufacture pv cells, concentrating solar technology provides more energy with less garbage.

While today solar balloons certainly are a new technology, sooner they could be an approach to curing our nation of it's dependence on standard fuels. The Cool Earth team recently received $21 million which they want to use to create a 10 megawatt plant using their solar balloon technology. As a result of forward thinking, environment friendly investors, a solar balloon based solar power plant might be a reality within the next several years, someday it may well even power your own home.


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