(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 wireless power transmission 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."
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."
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