The essence of the solution
It is known that the solar energy reaching to the planet is about 10,000 times greater than the needs of humanity. About a quarter of it goes to the evaporation of water and virtually always more or less evenly accumulates in the atmosphere at any point around the world. Since the annual precipitation is about 1 m of rainfall with an average height of 5 km, this gives a potential capacity of about 810 TW, which is more than 60 times greater than all the current needs of humanity (13 TW). Standard hydroelectricity can only use a small fraction of this energy, because all precipitation lose most of their potential energy on the way to the ground to overcome the resistance of the air and hit the ground. In order to use this potential energy more cost-conscious, it is necessary to collect the water at that altitude, where it condenses, and use all possible vertical hydraulic head. This is what constitutes the essence of the decision.
Interestingly, already having gotten this solution, I began to search the Internet for key words such ideas, and unexpectedly found that in 1915 in one of the articles the genius Nikola Tesla was nearly half a step to the realization of this idea: he was correct in principle estimation of the required resource, but had not found a scheme to implement it, although all technics already was ready for it hundred years ago. It’s a pity. If he then screw the idea, then we would live in a different world—clean, ecological, abundant, without wars for oil, etc… Unfortunately, humanity has lost a hundred years!
How to implement a solution – Air HES
The scheme of one of the solutions is shown in Fig. Air HES provides a downstream (water’s outflow) 1, upstream (water’s inflow) 2, conduit (pipe, penstock) 3, the turbo generator 4, mesh, fabric or film surfaces 5, airship (air-balloon) 6, and the fastening ropes (tethers, lines) 7.
The airship 6 lifts the surfaces 5 at the height of near or above the dew point (condensation level by ARL sounding, base of clouds) for current atmospheric conditions (typically 2-3 km). There supercooled atmospheric moisture begins to condense on the surfaces 5. The drainage system on the surfaces 5 assigns the water in a small reservoir (upstream 2), where water under pressure from whole hydraulic head (2-3 km) flows through the penstock or conduit 3 to the downstream 1 on the ground, producing electricity in the turbo generator 4.
The Air HES can be easily mounted in any convenient place for the consumer of electricity and water, simply by lifting and moving it entirely by using the same airship 6.
If at this point the winds are blowing steady permanent or it is a portable unit (for example, for tourists or military), you can do without the airship 6 and use surfaces 5 like the paragliding wing for self-containment of the assembly in the air (as occurs when you run a kite).
Also, the surfaces 5 can be performed with full or partial metallization (for example, by weaving metal wire). This will increase the structural strength, reduce solar heat, to increase the condensation of water vapor through the filing of an electric field (for example, have experimented with this corona discharge), as well as the need to reduce the ice due to current supply.
Generally, icing can be used as the standard mode, since the system has automatic resistance – with the accumulation of ice the whole structure will fall in the region of higher temperature of the atmosphere, and after the melting of the ice itself will rise to the desired height.
Since Air HES (as well as any other renewable energy) depends on the weather, the best way is to use of combinable system. Obvious that the balloon in the shape of almost flat glider makes it easy to place on the upper surface of the solar panels that will actively work just in the absence of clouds. At the same time you can use and the significant wind speed at such height by applying as a fastener a distributed cross-flow turbine under the patent CA 1041872. This will solve simultaneously the problem with delivery of water and energy without using pressure or gravity pipe. Thus, the system will be almost independent of weather conditions.
In terms of electricity generation it works the same way as in conventional hydropower, but the conventional HPS has a general principle drawbacks: they require significant capital expenditures for the construction of dams, occupy large areas under the reservoir, causing damage to the environment and are usually far from the consumer. In addition, there is always a potential danger of possible collapse of the dam. To a certain extent, these shortcomings are a consequence of the relatively small hydraulic heads with the huge volumes of water, typical for the majority of lowland rivers.
Nevertheless, the heads of 2 km, like in Air HES, are not extraordinary. There are some plants (Bieudron Swiss HPS) that work with these heads and using a simple turbine, invented in 1889 by an American engineer Allan Pelton.
The principal difference Air HES is the condensation of moisture from the air that at first glance it seems funny and impractical curiosity. Nevertheless, there is nothing unusual. In the world there are several great working systems, known as fog collectors. For example, a device for collecting drinking water in Chile was tested in 1987 and is well described with all specifications.
What it gives
- almost eternal and unlimited gratuitous electricity and clean water for drinking and irrigation, and anywhere in the world, where consumers want
- minimum space on the ground (as under this HES and under power lines), as well as the ability to use any surface (including the vast areas of deserts, seas, oceans, etc.)
- modular (you can collect any power plants from standard modules, for example, by 1 MW)
- mobility (for rapid redeployment, if necessary, or even for use in transport, for example, to supply ocean ships by electricity and drink water)
- cleanness and ecology because of the relatively small local hydro flows (in comparing with conventional HPS) and the complete absence of thermal, chemical or nuclear releases into the environment
- increasing the specific hydroelectric power (that is power per liter of water) by using the maximum possible hydraulic head between the upper and lower water level (from the height of the condensation of atmospheric moisture to the ground)
- significantly lower capital costs per unit of capacity and operational costs by comparing with any other known types of renewable and non-renewable energy
- possibility of additional uses for network communication, video surveillance, high-rise advertising, lightning protection, climate protection (for example, against hurricanes and tornadoes in the U.S. by placement on the seaboard of Gulf of Mexico), regulation of climate (by cutting off rains in St. Petersburg by placement on the dam at the prevailing southwest wind rose), AD (for example, for Israel), shade in hot countries, and much more…
Technical and economic calculations
Operable unit can even be portable. For example, a tourist or cottager can build it just as a glider or a kite.
According to the Chilean install such a surface mesh was given from 3 to 13 liters per square meter per day. Given that the installation in Chile have been completely passive, and we can actively manage the Air HES, changing the position of the surfaces 5 and height (to a maximum condensation) and the orientation of the wind (for a maximum flow of atmospheric moisture), it is hoped that the yield of water will be significantly increased. But even taking the same level of ~ 10 l/m2/day, we find that only a piece of nylon mesh 10 x 10 m (100 m2) fully meets the needs of one person in the water (~ 1000 l/day) and Household electricity (~ 150-200 kWh/month).
Let us estimate, for example, technical-economic data of the Air HES for a small village with 100 people. This setup will provide water to 100 m3/day (1.16 l/s) and have a capacity of 20-50 kW (depending on balloon’s height).
Let the minimum – the height of 2000 m, 20 kW – 10,000 m2 mesh (100 x 100 m)
Price of nylon mesh is from $ 0.5/m2, weight is from 10 g/m2 – $ 5000, 100 kg
Balloon 500 m3 raises 500 kg – the shell even $ 2,000, hydrogen is only $ 100 ($ 2/kg) – or about $ 5000 for helium.
The hose (conduit) needs an inner diameter of nozzle 3 mm, the velocity of water in it – 200 m/s (like the above-mentioned Swiss HPS), the weight of all the water in the hose of 50-100 kg (depending on the geometry).
The total weight of water in the hose, the meshes and in the upper reservoir – even 100-200 kg
A simple turbine + generator 20 kW + nylon ropes and so on – even though $ 3000
Total, even with such extremely low power, we have for this Air HES:
- The total price is ~ $ 10,000 ($ 100 to each inhabitant of the village).
- The weight is 200-400 kg (with airlift of the balloon is up to 500 kg).
- The specific capital costs is $ 500/kW.
- The operational costs is close to zero.
- today the cheapest energy is gas turbine PS with ~ $ 500-700/kW for the largest cost about 5 cents per kWh,
- Conventional TPS with ~ $ 1500/kW for ~ 2.5 cents per kWh,
- Hydro PS with ~ $ 1000-3000/kW for ~ 0.5 cents per kWh,
- Nuclear PS with ~ $ 5000/kW for ~ 2.5 cents per kWh.
It is clear that with increasing power, performance should only improve. For a typical power of hundreds or thousands of MW, we can expect reduction in specific capital to $ 200-300/kW.
Air HES can solve all energy problems of mankind. Approximate Market: at least 7 billion people on the planet at $ 100 = $ 700 billion. If someone wants to start production, to bring happiness to mankind and at the same time become the richest man on Earth – contact us, please, because now we need in a little grant and lab/place for creating a minimal prototype. 🙂