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Solar Power Generating Blimp for Disasters

We've been reminded in recent weeks that the what is the cost of cialis world is a vulnerable place. First as many as 100,000 killed in the cyclone in Burma, and now 12,000 feared dead after an earthquake in China. But as we've seen over and buying propecia without a prescription over again, sometimes disaster response is even more important than being prepared for the disaster.

How do you take care of hundreds of thousands of disaster refugees? It's not like you can plop down a coal power plant and fire it up wherever it's needed.

Or can you? Andrew Leinonen has put together a strong concept design for an airship covered in solar panels that can be flown into a disaster area, anchored in, and immediately begin to overnight levitra generic serve power to the rescue effort.

Though the airships are small by blimp standards, only 20 m long, they can house about 120 square meters of CIGS solar cells, producing up to 125 kWh / day. That's enough energy to power 25 shallow water pumps, providing clean water for up to 12,000 people. Or enough to power 400 medical refrigerators.

The airship will fly in it's own power box (also containing anchoring mechanisms) that will be lowered when the disaster site is reached. Additionally, the vehicle flies autonomously, and can be delivered entirely unmanned, simplifying the diplomatic process of serving aid, which, as we saw in Burma, can be a huge problem.

Lots of excellent pictures provided by Andrew can be found after the cialis overnight delivery jump, and I have it on good authority that he will be reading comments, so if you would like to ask any questions about the project, feel free.

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Comments (32)Add Comment
written by Jared, May 14, 2008
Is the blimp powered by the solar cells? Both Myanmar and China rescue operations are being hampered by storms. Would this type of facility stand up to storm winds, would it be able to wow look it buy levitra in new zealand maintain its power over a duration of days without sunlight? Great concept, look to be able to be implemented quickly. Would there be easy transport on carrier planes to get near a disaster in a hurry?
Answers (I hope)
written by Andrew, May 14, 2008
Thanks for the questions!

Under normal conditions, solar cells provide the bulk of the power, but it is complemented by the stern-mounted propeller which acts as a motor/generator (a la hybrid cars), allowing it to generate wind electricity as well. It results in a rotor design that's slightly compromised for both purposes, but something (25 of the 125 kWh/day) is better than nothing.

Based on my research, a typical tethered aerostat can operate in conditions up to 25 m/s (56 mph) - for comparison, a category 1 hurricane is 75 mph. This design is optimized with a a more aerodynamic cross-section, and incorporates a semi-rigid frame, so it should be capable of operating in all but the worst conditions.

I answer some of the other questions in the post on my own blog, but I'll post it here, too, to make things easier.

Those orange panels on the belly are actually flexible dilation panels, allowing the viagra tablets airship to increase the volume of gas in its envelope. That's required on airships anyway in order to compensate for changes in temperature and pressure, but it also provides another opportunity - buffer capacity through the use of a hydrogen fuel cell stack. The lift gas of how can i get prescribed tramadol choice is hydrogen, not helium, meaning that additional gas can be produced in-situ through electrolysis at times of peak capacity, and can then be burned in the on-board fuel cell later to provide (conservatively) 60 kWh of buffer capacity at night or during poor generation conditions.

Rather than being packed-up and deployed on site, I designed it to fly autonomously to the site - there are a few technical reasons for this (envelope degradation from folding and the need for the semi-rigid frame, primarily), but it should also result in faster deployment times in the end. In my post there's an image of the deployment range from US airbases around the world, and if deployed at first reports of a disaster, it can arrive at essentially any of the natural disaster hotspots in the world within two days. Compared to the time it takes to organize personnel and equipment for relief operations, that seemed like a preferable option to me.

i don't see why solar only is the best..
written by bob bobberson, May 14, 2008
cant we have a solar and wind blimp? didn't this website have a blog about wind blimps not too long ago... I assume this blimp powers itself with some kind of electric 'fan'. cant that fan be turned into a generator in high wind instances?
Re: Question
written by Jared, May 14, 2008
Thank you for the thorough answer. I missed the part about the military bases, which is an excellent solution to the problem i was envisioning. I'm very impressed and wish you the levitra soft tablets best of luck! Cheers!
written by Alejanddro, May 14, 2008
The idea of very cheap viagra using a blimp to carry out such task is really good, but I would rather not use the hydrogen as the lift gas.

Firstly, and I honestly haven't checked it, but I doubt that hydrogen is still allowed as lift gas in blimps. And secondly, it is meant to be used in areas where the bad weather can cause easily a lightning strike on the blimps andor fires may be present on the ground, thus endangering the highly inflammable blimp.

Wouldn't it be better to use helium and if needed carry the hydrogen in gas tanks?

Re: ...
written by Andrew, May 14, 2008
The problem with storing hydrogen in tanks is that it instantly becomes prohibitively heavy. Hydrogen is cheap, has better buoyancy than helium, and can be produced on site. It is also renewable, whereas helium is becoming increasingly scarce - to the point that US reserves are expected to be gone by 2035, and that's assuming no new airship industries spring up to use the stuff.

Even the most advanced batteries don't have the energy density necessary for storing electricity in this application, either.

Lightning strikes are a concern, obviously, but even the infamous Hindenburg went through a number of lightning storms with no incident. Because this design has a number of rigid components creating a semi-rigid frame, there's the opportunity to conduct electricity away from the lift gas and safely into the ground. Electrical routing integrated into the surface of envelope is another possibility.

Everything is a compromise. I'm still not convinced that hydrogen is necessarily that dangerous, even in airship applications. The materials chemistry today is infinitely better than it was in the age of zeppelins.

Worst comes to worst and something does happen, though, at least hydrogen dissipates extremely rapidly and burns upward at relatively low temperatures, so any catastrophic disaster doesn't pose a significant risk to people on the ground.
written by EV, May 14, 2008
I'm curious. Why not use two side by side blimps to support a solar/wind array between the two? Or is it too difficult to keep them at the same distance?
written by Campbell, May 14, 2008

Turtle Airships goal, for the last 27 YEARS, has been to field rigid airships for use in delivering humanitarian aid. The aerostats offered up in this thread are potentialy an excellent tool; and I am pleased to see them.

bye the bye.....if you have interest in airships, I'm always pleased to discuss them at length...

Darrell Campbell

turtleairships (at) hotmail (dot) com

turtleairships (dot) blogspot (dot) com
Another idea...
written by Keith_Indy, May 15, 2008
Another idea to add to this, if it were feasible, would be to have a cell phone relay station and/or a wireless internet hub. This would give locals and responders the the best place levitra pills ability to communicate out of the area. Something which might be interrupted.
Communications Network
written by Kevin, May 15, 2008
Wow Keith, I love that idea. I can't wait to see if Mr. Leinonen thinks it'll work. I can't imagine why anyone would disagree with it's use in the US. Overseas might be a problem, some nations might say we are trying to spy.
Re: Communications Network
written by Andrew, May 15, 2008
I definitely agree with you on the cell relay station / wi-fi hub (I hadn't originally thought of the latter, but don't see why it couldn't work). I tried to think of a variety of sale viagra functions that an airship could perform that would be difficult to offer otherwise, and in addition to mobile power generation, communications relays and generic cialis usa site survey were the other two big ones on the list as far as disaster needs went.
One more thing...
written by Keith_Indy, May 15, 2008
You could also have a built in webserver, with forums, and information exchanges. Sort of a survivor net, where people can post and find missing people, needs, location of aid, etc.
written by Andrew, May 15, 2008
Now that is a great idea. The trick would be making sure that people knew about it and how to access it, but if you could solve that somehow, it would be a pretty incredible resource. Especially if people could access it via their cell phones.
written by Keith_Indy, May 15, 2008
How about a billboard on the blimp itself, ala the Goodyear blimp. Although now we're going beyond a simple concept into a whole 'nother thing.

Since Katrina, I've been thinking there needs to be an easy means for communicating needs, and aid among survivors and responders. The physical platform and powering it have always been the stumbling block.

You could easily set the same thing up in a van, but it would need to be driven there.
Another use for the blimp: recharging fu
written by Corban, May 15, 2008
It's already been said that the blimp could power any number of useful things, utilizing the power of the sun. What if it could be plugged up to a generator down below to create ethanol or methanol, then recharging fuel cells?

This way a disaster relief team's equipment could be virtually autonomous.
Very Creative
written by poetryman69, May 16, 2008
very creative
written by Leo, May 16, 2008
I didn't read many of the comments, just one. I know airships today are not lighter than air, so no need to anchor them down to stay put, even in wind storms. Also, with much of the work still done by helium, then they can run as zero emmission flights if they use the solar panals to run themselves. If we were to use and automate these blimps then we can turn our airports into something more like a bus stop. They can keep schedules, whether you are on the airship or not, with very little added cost of running the route empty (just the on line pharmacy australia cialis cost of automated navigation).
written by aerocrat, May 16, 2008
Actual info about aeronautic and airships you could read in the LJ blog AEROCRAT CONCEPT. Please read translated (from Russian) content via web-translater as THAT
fast, efficient laptop communications---
written by Nina Aguilar, May 17, 2008
Check out the networking ideas of cialis prices One Laptop Per Child. The computers themselves form a local network....if a bunch of the people on the ground had them, even and buy tramadol fedex especially the volunteers, they could all communicate with each other----instantly! They are at work already in Africa and other places.
Fan-flipping-tastic idea!!
Blimp Intranet
written by James, May 17, 2008
You could use a captive portal like they use at hotspots and hotels to let people know what's there. Process is laptop sees blimp's open access point and gets a DHCP address, they open a browser and try to go anywhere on the internet (e.g. captive portal captures and redirects thier browser to the blimp's home page that makes you register who you are and your role (i.e. survivor, aid worker, authority, etc) Web services based on need are then selectively displayed (i.e. email and levitra on line message boards for everyone, coordination and needs assessment services, local area and blimp to blimp VOIP for aid workers, etc). You could host much of this on the internet but having as much as possible hosted on the blimp or within the blimp network let's you store information locally for when there are satellite communications failures.
....and thanks for the great blimp idea
written by Nina Aguilar, May 17, 2008
Love, Mother Earth
written by Robert Pritchett, May 17, 2008
This looks like the Aeroscraft, but with the flex-solar panel option ;^)
written by Lena, May 17, 2008
This 125kWh over a 24 hr period is equivalent to a 5.2 kW instantaneous rate of power... Or roughly enough to run 5 space heaters simultaneously.

I think it's an awesome idea, but be careful not to put down misleading numbers, if you want the articles to have weight.

Still has merit, but just wanted to clarify. :D
new idea?
written by Jason Karas, May 18, 2008
What about a larger design for more power and docking the mexico pharmacy airship above the clouds?
Studies on going...
written by DARPA HARD, May 19, 2008
Solar Cell power to weight, not there yet. Need another 10 years of developement. Can only generate power during daylight, must store for night. Need to power aerostat pressurization system, coms and such. Basic problem is weight. 30% eff. in solar cells is optomistic, the other 70% goes in as heat to blimp/aerostat... big problem.

Aerostat Cell Phone towers exist and have been demostartaed in North Carolina.

FAA requires non-flamable gas for man carring blimps, would need to work on Hydrogen. Premiums paid for non sparking hardware and support electronics, ground handling safety issues.

The details tend to kill these type of ideas...

Re: studies ongoing
written by Andrew, May 25, 2008
I researched fairly extensively, and I found that power/weight from the solar modules was not an issue. And I didn't even come close to using 30% - my estimates were for 15% efficient CIGS, which should easily be commercialized in a few years when (if) production would be beginning.

I decided to use dilation panels instead of ballonets for pressure regulation because they are so much simpler - no need for blower systems, and it doesn't take up valuable interior volume with air. It means that the exterior isn't quite as aerodynamic, but it's not a high performance airship, so it's not really an issue.

As I mentioned, one of the reasons I picked hydrogen as the lift gas is exactly because it provides a potential method for storing energy (for H2 fuel cells) that has a much greater energy density than existing battery tech. Heating of the lift-gas from the thin-films is an issue, but demonstration solar airships (like the University of purchase viagra etc from canada Stuttgart's LOTTE) have been built, so I certainly don't think the challenges are insurmountable.

It may not be able to be built tomorrow, but believe me when I say I've considered the details. There's about 60 pages worth of design details and cialis overnight delivery justification in my thesis report...
Solar Power Generating Blimp for Disaste
written by John White, May 27, 2008
Fantastic idea - but surely the weight of all the electrical adapters would mean it would never get off the ground. From experience I know that when travelling the weight of the adapters is equal to or more than the devices they power!
Helium head
written by Rudder, May 27, 2008
If all that is needed is message reader board. The Lightship Group now has a full Video sign. It can communicate real time messaging.
Solar power has not reached the level that you folks are talking about for powering airships. Ask Boeing,or anyother bigger player that has studied this much more than any one here has. This a dream in a present day. It may reach this potiental, but everyone including. Let the experts figure it out in the airship business and don't start a company that only fails due to your lack of knowledge of airships.
written by Andrew, May 28, 2008
Tell that to the University of Stuttgart, considering they built and flew a series of three solar-powered airships in the early 1990s. And that was using thoroughly obsolete technology - just 4.8 m^2 of monocrystalline silicon solar panels, and NiCd accumulator batteries.

Google LOTTE, and see for yourself.

Venture capital and political will are the limiting factors here, not technology.
Balloon for hurricane force winds
written by Kurt, January 28, 2009
They SkyDoc will handle up to hurricane force winds -

written by JC, May 20, 2009
I hate to put water on the fire butttttt, Hydrogen is the smallest element on the periodic table of elements'.
aside from freezing and storing as a liquid , storing at med. to high pressures, as a gas, not yet discovered .

So get to work.

Solar Power Generator
written by dextercath96, May 10, 2010
I think that solar power generating is a good equipment. Whenever there is disaster, it is ready to use. I have also solar power generator which I've seen in We need to use this solar power generating to help the people who suffered in different disasters.

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