Bill Gates has backed a novel wind power system by investing in Airloom Energy, a company that has developed a carousel-style wind turbine.
The Microsoft billionaire’s Breakthrough Energy Ventures led the round that provided $4 million in seed funding to scale up the innovation, touted to slash the cost of wind energy production in half.
The unique utility-scale wind power device is said to produce the same amount of power as a conventional horizontal-axis wind turbine (HAWT) at a small fraction of the mass and cost.
Standard wind turbines can approach a height of 500 feet, with 180-foot blades rotating on a 300-foot tower.
In contrast, the typical Airloom utilizes the same physics but runs 30-foot blades along a lightweight track only 80 feet high.
Founded in 2020, the Wyoming-based manufacturer is currently operating a 50-kilowatt test device. Future systems are expected to be up to 1,300 feet long (400 meters) and produce hundreds of megawatts for utility-scale wind farms that produces the same amount of power as a HAWT at a small fraction of the mass and cost.
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“Cost and environmental advantages extend over the Airloom’s entire lifecycle,” said the company in a media release. “It uses readily sourced materials to ensure rapid manufacturing, and an entire 2.5 MW Airloom could be transported in one standard tractor trailer.
“It can be configured high or low, short or long, to optimize siting and viewplane, and does not require large concrete foundations in commissioning.”
Carmichael Roberts, of Breakthrough Energy Ventures, add: “For decades, the wind industry has lowered the cost of energy production by scaling ever larger turbines.
“Although this has been extremely successful in driving down overall costs, the approach now faces challenges in terms of both siting and cost of materials.
“Airloom’s unique approach can solve both these problems, opening new market opportunities for wind energy that will further drive down costs.”
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The decrease in overall weight and materials also means greatly reduced landfill impacts at the end of its use.
Learn more about Airloom and watch a video, visit their website.
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