Magenn Power Inc. has moved forward and begun testing a prototype of their MARS (Magenn Air Rotor System) inside an old US Navy airship hangar before beginning outdoor trials at a customer's site in a few weeks. The MARS is a lighter-than-air turbine which is tethered to the ground between 300 and 1000 feet (roughly 90 to 300 meters) with conducting cables that transmit electricity to the ground. It is basically a blimp with its body configured with blades to catch the wind in order to generate power.
The MARS can be quickly deployed without extensive site-preparation or construction, and can reach higher into the atmosphere than traditional turbines, making it better suited for use on sites where the land is not flat. It is also better suited for providing power to remote, off-grid locations. Because the equipment is lightweight and readily transportable, it could make access to power for remote villages easier to supply. And, with its much higher reach, it provides an opportunity to use wind power in locations where a tower mounted turbine would not get enough wind to be useful.
Magenn plans to begin installing their turbines starting next year. According to the company, four units are expected to be installed next year. The first MARS turbines are going to be roughly 25 x 65 feet (7.6 x 19.8 meters) and will produce up to 10 kW. Apparently plans for a smaller-sized MARS turbine have been put aside for now. However, future versions of the MARS could reach much larger sizes and be capable of generating up to 2000 kW. The company says the price for a 10-25 kW MARS unit is yet to be determined, but is expected to be in the range of $3 to $5 per watt. Comparabl with current wind technology.
Keep reading for a ton of pictures (actual and art) of the technology.
Previously on EcoGeek: Spinning Blimp Wind Turbine
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