Whilst numerous energy experts place grasshopper like pumps across the landscape to draw fossil fuel to the Earth’s surface others are dotting the landscape with large windmills. However, one maverick California business is hinting that affordable balloons might be the true future of energy.
Cool Earth Solar, Livermore California; has developed eight-foot plastic balloons which its creators believe will transform the way the world thinks about energy.
The evidence may be strongly scrutinized in the next few years as Cool Earth installs a small power plant online using balloons equipped with solar receptors. The first plant is perceived to generate 250,000 watts of electricity from the balloons that resemble an eight-foot wide Mylar party balloons. The first plant is scheduled to be open by the year’s end.
The next step in their global solar outlook is for a 1.5 million watt plant to be constructed in Tracy, California. Cool Earth fully intends to go global.
Company officials indicate the plastic material used in producing the balloons cost as little as $2.00 each balloon and energy resulting from these spheres is expected to be cost competitive with natural gas derived electricity.
This is excellent news for solar power enthusiasts who have long awaited for commercial possibility of this renewable source. CleanTechnica.com indicates the inflated balloon, “Focuses sunlight onto a photovoltaic cell held at its focal point. The design produces 400 times the electricity that a solar cell would create without the company’s concentrator.”
The balloons are used firstly due to the surface area being considerably bigger than typical solar receptors. Because the cost is reduced due to the inexpensive material used for the inflated balloon the surface can be replaced as needed whilst captured energy from the sun is securely stored at Cool Earth facilities and then redistributed for customer use.
In describing the exclusive receptors Eric Cummings, Founder and CTO of Cool Earth Solar, noted the pending patents filed in the summer of 2007, “The filing of this intellectual property is a milestone in the development and protection of Cool Earth Solar’s radical approach to solar concentrating technology. We believe this technology makes deployment of solar power economically viable as a utility scale application.” Investors sound as if they agree as the coolearthsolar.com website declared an infusion of 21 million dollars in realated to this new technology.
Cool Earth sources sought to demonstrate the point by saying, “The amount of sunlight that hits the Earth’s surface in one hour is enough to power the entire world for a year.”
Company officials are intent on capitalizing on this knowledge and permitting consumers to benefit from their results. Cool Earth describes the technical side of their system by saying, “Much like using a magnifying glass to concentrate light, concentrated solar systems use lenses or reflectors to concentrate sunlight onto highly efficient solar cells. By concentrating the light onto a single high efficiency cell, the technology vastly reduces the amount of traditional solar cell area needed to produce electricity. Multi-junction, high efficiency cells derived from satellite technology allow CPV systems to generate the same amount of electricity as traditional flat-panel PV systems while using up to 300 to 400 times less solar cell material.”
Discover.com may have said it best when they reported, “Millions of these balloons could hover low over the landscape, each concentrating sunlight onto a photovoltaic cell inside, and pumping out electricity more cheaply than power from fossil fuels.”
Whilst some will follow other forms of alternate energy there will be one company in California enjoying the sunshine whilst increasing solar potential.