Energy News
Volts That Float
Startup plans to harness wind power by sending turbines aloft


A helium-filled shell lifts the turbine up and stabilizes it in the air. Inside the ring, a three-blade wind turbine will generate electricity.
© Altaeros Energies

If a startup called Altaeros Energies gets off the ground, it will do so by producing electricity way, way off the ground.

The company, founded in 2010 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is preparing to launch a floating wind turbine over Alaska called a BAT, or buoyant airborne turbine, according to The New York Times. The BAT is a helium-filled doughnut surrounding a rotor. It would float in strong winds 1,000 feet up and, using one of the cables tethering it to the ground, feed enough electricity to power more than a dozen homes.

Ben Glass, CEO of Altaeros, had planned a career in rocket science and interned at SpaceX, the private company that has a rocket and equipment test facility outside McGregor.

“I realized that to be a rocket scientist you kind of had to be a billionaire and have a rocket company or you were just going to be designing some little widget part of the rocket,” Glass told The New York Times.