Startup has plans for power plants in sky with drones

Dec 01, 2013 by Nancy Owano weblog
Startup has plans for power plants in sky with drones

(Phys.org) —Here is the idea: flying power plants in the sky as a means of providing clean, renewable energy. Here is more of the idea: this would be a high-altitude aerial power plant that harvests energy from solar, wind and other sources, and beams it wirelessly to the ground. Now the idea gets more interesting: The power plant would be using networks of unmanned drones. The company is New Wave Energy UK, formed in 2012, self-described as "an upcoming energy provider within the UK currently working towards researching and constructing our own novel form of power plant." (New Wave Energy UK is not associated or affiliated with US-based New Wave Energy Corp.)

In a November 15 press release, the company announced that "A new and exciting venture into a whole new form of power plant is currently in incubation within the UK." The company said the "patent pending technology" is a drone-based power plant for combined solar, wind, heat and emerging new forms of energy generation. The technology is to incorporate from the drones (and their wireless network) to the Earth's surface," according to the release.

Details about the drone are in a recent Gizmag article on New Wave Energy UK. According to the article, the company's ambition is for each drone to have four rotors, multiple wind turbines and a flat base for generating solar power. With energy harvested, the devices will power themselves and also 50 kW more that can be transmitted wirelessly to the ground. Rectenna arrays installed inland or on offshore installations would receive electromagnetic waves and convert them into usable power.

According to New Wave Energy, "The technology is tailored to operate at 50,000 ft where wind patterns are more reliable, solar production is greater and there is little or no interference from weather patterns."

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In the November 15 press release, the company said it was seeking further investment to advance the project. New Wave Energy UK is turning to crowdfunding as one such step. "To raise such equity New Wave Energy UK Ltd are hoping to raise £300,000 through crowd funding on Kickstarter. New Wave Energy UK Ltd also intend to acquire a total of £32 million from private investors during the crucial stages of the project to commercialise the application."

Explore further: Microsoft enters 20-year deal for Texas wind power

More information: www.newwaveenergyuk.com/ ;
www.newwaveenergyuk.com/upload… se_november_2013.pdf

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User comments : 10

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daqddyo
4.3 / 5 (4) Dec 01, 2013
I think someone should do the math. What proportion of the generated energy is required to keep the devices up there at 50kft? It would be better to use a hydrogen filled balloon to provide the lift with position stabilizing propellers.
TheKnowItAll
1.6 / 5 (12) Dec 01, 2013
As if people are not being bombarded by enough radiation as it is. On the other hand mass infertility would have it's advantages in some countries.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (3) Dec 01, 2013
I'd also like to see the calcs on whether something that hoists wind turbines (which require heavy magnets in their generators) and PV cells (which can be light enough, I suppose, if you stick to thin film ones. But those tend to have lower efficiency as well)

While true that wind patterns are stable ta high altitudes helicopters are also a lot less efficient there (due to less dense air) which means more power needed to keep these things afloat. And these things need to be able to keep station against those high altitude airstreams or be blown all over the world - again something I'd think would be tricky with something that is basically a 20m x 20m kite.

The article claims that a 20mx20m drone could harvest 50kW plus the energy to keep it afloat.
They should build a demonstrator. As the tech isn't all that expensive that shouldn't take too long.
VENDItardE
1.3 / 5 (12) Dec 01, 2013
Dubious at best....dangerous at the least, I am sure some government controlled by the crazies, I mean greenies, will be found to provide the funds. Sorry Brits but we all know who it will be.
24volts
1 / 5 (7) Dec 02, 2013
This looks like something to just sucker money out of investors to me. I can't see this ever getting put into production even if they could get some version of it to work.

It should pay some 'researchers' well for a couple of years though while they spend the money donated until the day it runs out and they come back with a 'we found it wasn't actually possible to compete with other sources of energy without massive government funding excuse' and then they will go on to some other 'research'

I'm sorry but this idea is so stupid it deserves nothing better than pure sarcasm in my opinion. Even the ground tethered wind turbine horizontal spinning blimp idea is better than this is.
dobermanmacleod
1 / 5 (10) Dec 02, 2013
Hate to burst your bubble, but LENR is coming out soon, and hot fusion isn't too far behind. My suggestion is not to invest in any other energy production idea. BTW, world energy usage is expected to increase over 50% in the next two decades, so the conventional wisdom is that energy prices will be going up, but if you look with clear eyes at the emerging energy technologies you will clearly see that the price of energy is going to go down to next to nothing.
dirk_bruere
5 / 5 (1) Dec 02, 2013
So, whatever happened to the idea of using turbines on big kites?
casualjoe
1 / 5 (2) Dec 02, 2013
First thoughts are good luck overcoming ε0εr at 50000ft, and they'd probably have a better chance investing in an atmospheric electrostatic discharge antenna/generator.
QuixoteJ
1 / 5 (8) Dec 02, 2013
self-described as "an upcoming energy provider within the UK currently working towards researching and constructing our own novel form of power plant."
Whenever someone describes their own idea or research as "novel" I cringe. This is just another unrealistic idea cooked up by naive researchers who don't know how to change the oil in a car, and who think the future problems of mankind can be solved by using "features and apps".
mzso
1 / 5 (7) Dec 02, 2013
Hate to burst your bubble, but LENR is coming out soon, and hot fusion isn't too far behind.

Riiiiight... Just after Jesus' second coming. LENR's range is form fantasy to scam as it always was.