Balloon power

Researchers from Technion University have conceived a new method of producing electricity using helium balloons coated with solar cells.

Dr Gurfil of the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering and doctoral student Yossi Cori of the Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning say that the balloons would be kept in the air through a supply of helium delivered through a cable that would also be used to bring the electricity generated by the solar cells back down to the ground.

The researchers, who have registered a patent for their idea, hope that the idea will eventually be competitive with existing energy sources.

The Technion researchers estimate that two helium balloons would be required to power a single apartment.  At first, however, they say that it’s more likely that the balloons would be used to supply electricity to ships, oil drilling platforms in mid-ocean or houses in jungles or deserts where there is no electricity supply.

Helium balloons above a desert.