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HeliWind by the Hawaii Consulting Group replaces the blades and tower of a conventional wind turbine with a lighter-than-air helical balloon and lowers the generator to the ground.
HeliWind is a low-cost Wind Energy Conversion System that allegedly will reduce electricity generation costs from $ 0.06 per kilowatt-hour (kW-hr) to $0.034/kW-hr -- below most conventional wholesale electrical generation costs.
The Hawaii Consulting Group expects to prototype the HeliWind turbine balloon generator (genset) in June 2010, with siting in December 2010, and production in June 2011.
- http://www.hicon.us - Lays out the HeliWind concept, discusses the latest HeliWind developments, and provides links to the teams working on specific HeliWind components.
The development of the HeliWind is moving forward in five areas:
- R&D Financing... $ 26M ... completed by 09/08
- Mathematical Modelling....FEM 01/09
- Prototype development...first design 06/09...test 01/10 - 06/10
- Manufacturing ... 06/10 - 06/11
- Siting ... 12/25/2010
The goal is to install the first HeliWinds in December 2011.
How it Works
Compared with the conventional wind turbine, the main advantage of a HeliWind is that a balloon is more economical than blades, a tower and caisson foundation. Another advantage is that it is easier to install, service and maintain a wind system with the generator (genset) on the ground rather than 150 feet in the air. Finally, the HeliWind is silent and eliminates bird and bat kills. The main disadvantages are the fragile balloon envelope, intermittent energy supply, and it is still ugly.
The key component for a HeliWind is a lighter than air balloon envelope. The buoyant fluid can be hot air, helium, hydrogen, or a combination of these gases.
Hot air is cheap and can be generated on site, but is not very buoyant. Heat inside the envelope must be maintained before any net energy production can begin. Helium is very buoyant and 10 times lighter than hot air, allowing for a smaller envelope. But helium has a small atomic diameter and will leak through any fabric membrane. If used, lost helium would need to be regularly replenished. And it is very expensive. In contrast to helium, hydrogen is cheap and abundant, can be made on site, but it is flammable. The required volume of a helium/hydrogen balloon is estimated at 20 percent of an equivalent hot air balloon.
Two balloon cross-sections are being tested: the sausage (easier to build) and the ribbon (easier to fly). Many HeliWind configurations will be developed to optimize energy production over a wide range of environmental conditions.
A gimbaled support frame allows the balloon to rotate 360 degrees into a downwind position and tilt into a stable position that aligns with the balloon’s lift and drag. It's free rotation delivers torque to a power unit (in most cases an electrical generator). The spindle makes the balloon easy to launch and recover.
- HeliWind 3 - Introduction of HeliWind. (YouTube; July 7, 2008)
Once in mass production (several thousand units/month), 34-KW HeliWinds will cost less than $ 18,000 each. A 200 unit wind farm will cost $ 4.3 M to build, $ 400K/Yr to operate, and produce electricity for $ 0.034/Kilowatt-Hour.
- Cost: half that of coal, one fourth that of a wind turbine;
- Silent: major complaint of bladed wind turbines;
- No bird/bat kills.
- First Generate electricity ... for only 3.4¢/KwHr
- Power the electrical grid ... eliminate all fossil fuel plants
- Generate hydrogen & oxygen as vehicle fuel ... 100% pollution free
- Second Drive RO desalination pump
- Produce fresh water at half the current costs...eliminate droughts worldwide
A provisional patent was secured May '08. A non-provisional patent will be filed Dec. '08.
Company: Hawaii Consulting Group
Offers planning, civil & structural design, and construction management services. Developing solutions for world hunger, flooding, global warming, traffic.
See Discussion page
Hawaii Consulting Group
98-711 Iho Place # 3-903
Aiea HI 96701-2500
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