In order to harness jet stream winds, a research associate at York University, Toronto, has proposed to install wind turbines at high altitudes. “Ten to 15 km above the Earth, wind is available at all times, which is not possible near the ground. This wind energy can be utilised by installing wind turbines at high altitudes,” says Raj Seth, research associate in the department of physics at York University.
Seth proposes to install 100 wind turbines on a 15-km pneumatic tower made of Kevlar a synthetic fibre with high tensile strength. “The main advantage of these insulating towers of Kevlar or other strong polymer fabric is that electricity collected by the tower skin will not flow into the ground place,” he says.
The estimated cost of a single tower with turbines, which can reportedly generate 20GW of power, is said to be around Canadian $10 billion. But Seth insists it is still cost-effective technology for India. “India’s total demand at present is 200 GW and that can be met by 10 such towers. Consumers would not get higher power bills as wind power and atmospheric electricity are available at dollar zero,” he says.