LTA Windpower

Main | The Airship | The Generator Nacelles | The Wings | The Ground Structures and Operation
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Technology

LTA Windpower understands that in order to be competitive with conventional wind turbines, an airborne tethered wind turbine cannot rely on its superior capacity factor alone. A detailed look at the requirements for airborne tethered wind turbines may be found in our technology whitepaper. Minimizing cost per delivered kilowatt-hour requires survivability with completely unattended operation under most conditions. Among airborne tethered wind turbines, the PowerShip is the first ever that meets these criteria. Secondary design considerations include "do not re-invent the wheel if you don't have to." LTA Windpower designers purposely set out to lower technology development risk by harnessing elements and whole subsystems that are known to work well already, with minimal modification: airships, wings, and axial flow propeller turbines. The PowerShip is the full expression of this design philosophy.

The realization of the PowerShip begins with a nonrigid airship. The usual gondola slung underneath is replaced by airplane-like wings. There are two generator nacelles, one on each wing, in the simplest case at the end of the wings. The propellers face the rear, so they are on the trailing edge of the wings. The combination has the appearance of an airplane with a wide-bodied inflatable fuselage and oversized push propellers. The tether is attached to the front centre of the wing beneath the blimp. There is no need for a winch on the ground to deploy or retrieve the PowerShip since it operates close to neutral buoyancy. The PowerShip is scalable in size. Units up to 50 kW meant primarily for off-grid use will employ non-grid-synchronous permanent magnet generators, storage batteries, and inverters. Larger grid-connectable units may use AC synchronous generators and blade-pitch adjustment.