Monday, June 18, 2007

Jet Stream Provides Energy

Scientists at Stanford, along with researchers from Canada and Australia, are teaming up to look at the earth's most powerful form of power, and its not the sun. It's the Jet Stream. They believe that tapping only 1% of the jet stream will provide enough energy to power the entire earth. The question is, how do we harness all that power?

"There is a remarkable variety of designs for high-flying wind machines, some of which resemble blimps or futuristic helicopters. Others look like Alexander Calder-style mobile sculptures. An early, 240-kilowatt prototype of a wind machine could weigh 1,140 pounds and have four rotors, each of which might be 35 feet wide from tip to tip and would spin up to five times per second."

So far only lab prototypes have been tested, but some of the members of the team are optimistic that the technology will be available in the next 15 years. Others, like atmospheric scientist at Stanford Ken Caldeira believe it will take a little longer, "In the 19th century, it took 25 years for oil to replace 1 percent of the coal market. The energy infrastructure tends to evolve slowly.The challenge is developing a device that can withstand the extreme forces in the jet stream such as light exposure, then sendiing that energy back and converting it to a form we can use."

Other issues will be safety for air travel, birds, and efficiency issues.

for the full article in SF Chronicle

No comments:

Post a Comment