Airborne Wind Turbines:
Clean, Consistent and Cost-Effective Energy
Joby Energy is developing airborne wind turbines which will operate in the upper boundary layer.
While knowledge of the tremendous energy in high-altitude wind is not new, recent advances in power electronics, sensors, and control systems now make our technology practical.
Our multi-wing structure supports an array of turbines. The turbines connect to motor-generators which produce thrust during takeoff and generate power during crosswind flight. Orientation in flight is maintained by an advanced computer system that drives aerodynamic surfaces on the wings and differentially controls rotor speeds. A reinforced composite tether transmits electricity and moors the system to the ground. The high redundancy of the array configuration can handle multiple points of failure and remain airborne.
How It Operates
For launch, the turbines are supplied with power to enable vertical takeoff. Upon reaching operating altitude, the system uses the power of the wind to fly crosswind in a circular path. The high crosswind speeds result in the turbines spinning the generators at high speeds, eliminating the need for gearboxes and increasing efficiency. The energy is transferred to the ground through the electrical tether. During occasional periods of low wind the turbines are powered to land the system safely.
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