Watch Altaeros Energies' floating wind turbine in action

Altaeros Energies, the company behind an innovative floating wind turbine, recently released the first public video of its creation.

Ben Glass and Adam Rein of Altaeros Energies designed a turbine to fly high in the sky, where the wind is stronger and more consistent. Now the duo has released its first public video of its 35-foot wide airborne turbine in action. The video, which was released via YouTube, also explains how the turbine works.

As I've noted before, buildings and trees can disrupt the wind, which can be problematic for companies trying to harvest the renewable energy source. Until now, the solution has been to build wind turbines on ever higher towers, an expensive endeavor that raises environmental concerns and the ire of folks living nearby. Altaeros Energies, which was spun out of MIT, aims to circumvent those problems and at a lower cost.

Rein previously told me the company plans to market the turbine to owners of off-grid generators including military, remote industrial and village sites. The turbine can produce power for about 65 percent less than it costs to transport out the diesel fuel for the generators, Rein said. In the long term, Altaeros plans to scale up the technology to reduce costs in the offshore wind market.

The company completed last month testing of its 35-foot prototype at the Loring Commerce Center in Maine. The prototype, fabricated with Doyle Sailmakers of Salem, Mass., climbed up to 350 feet, produced power at altitude and land in an automated cycle.

Last October, Glass and Rein were awarded the ConocoPhillips 2011 Energy Prize, a joint initiative between the oil and gas company and Penn State created to recognize new ideas and original, actionable solutions to improve the way the U.S. develops and uses energy. Glass, CEO of Altaeros Energies and inventor of the turbine, and Rein, the company’s co-founder, received a total of $125,000 to further the development of their concept officially called the Aerostat Platform for Rapid Deployment Airborne Wind Turbine. Alain Goubau also is co-founder.

Photo: Altaeros Energies

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This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com