Aglietti, G.S., Markvart, T., Tatnall, A.R. and Walker, S.J.
Aerostat for electrical power generation: concept feasibility
Journal of Aerospace Engineering, 222, (1), . (doi:10.1243/09544100JAERO258).
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The current paper examines the feasibility of using a high altitude tethered aerostat as a platform for producing a substantial quantity of electric energy and transmitting it to Earth using the mooring cable.
Based on realistic values for the relevant engineering parameters that describe the technical properties of the materials and subsystems, a static analysis of the aerostat in its deployed configuration has been carried out. The results of the computations, although of a preliminary nature, demonstrate that the concept is technically feasible. There are, nevertheless, issues to be addressed to improve the performance. However none of these issues is deemed to negate the technical feasibility of this concept. A test case is investigated in terms of preliminary sizing of the aerostat, including mooring cable and solar cell coverage, and it shows the capability to deliver power to the ground in excess of 95 kW. A brief assessment of the cost has also been carried out to investigate the potential gains offered by this system to produce solar electric energy.
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