Sunday November 14 2010 / Science & Technology

"There is enough energy in high altitude winds to power civilization 100 times over; and sooner or later, we're going to learn to tap into the power of winds and use it to run civilization." Says Ken Caldeira, Professor of Global Ecology at the Carnegie Institution for Science.

Wind energy in itself isn't a novel concept, but the MARS Turbine (Maggen Air Rotor System) literally puts a new (high altitude) spin on conventional wind turbines.

Designer Fred Ferguson (pictured above) created MARS as an energy source for remote areas that need consistent power but lack resources to build a large wind turbine. MARS is essentially a rotating blimp with fins, flying at altitudes of 300m/1,000' and connected to the ground by a tether/energy conductor.

MARS uses magnetic induction to produce energy, just like conventional wind turbines, but the difference comes with increased altitude. Catching wind 250m/800' higher than conventional turbines where there is greater wind speed, provides MARS with more energy. Another advantage of MARS is that it works from speeds as low as 12km/hr (7mph) and as high as 100km/hr (63mph) compared to convential turbines that have to shut down at speeds of half that.

MARS is a lighter-than-air tethered wind turbine that rotates about a horizontal axis in response to wind, generating electrical energy. This electrical energy is transferred down the 300m/1000' tether for immediate use, or to a set of batteries for later use, or to the power grid. Helium sustains MARS and allows it to ascend to a higher altitude than traditional wind turbines. MARS rotation also generates the "Magnus effect" which provides additional lift, keeps the MARS stabilized, and positions it within a very controlled and restricted location.

The Advantages of MARS over Conventional Wind Turbines is that it removes placement limitations. High altitude winds means that coast-line or off-shore locations are not necessary and the generation can be placed closer to teh grid. MARS is mobile and can be rapidly deployed, deflated, and redeployed without the need for towers or heavy cranes.

A new solution to providing clean reliable energy and the more option we have, the better off we will be.

For more information please visit www.magenn.com

Suggested by
Maximilian Büsser