The Windmill of the future could be floating in the sky

What”s next for the energy generation? We won”t keep you in suspense!

Don Quixote famously—infamously—tilted at windmills.

Were his story set today, though, Cervantes might have to change things up a bit: the monsters the self-styled knight battles might be set in the sky. Soon, in the airs above Fairbanks, Alaska, a wind turbine will be launched. It will use helium to hover above the ground, obviating the need for poles—and, for that casino matter, for land. The massive balloon will be, Gizmodo reports, the world”s first floating commercial wind turbine.

The device is unfortunately not named the “Sky Donut.” It is instead called the Buoyant Wind Turbine, or BAT. And its creator, the Boston-based startup Altaeros Energies, has developed it as an alternative to diesel generators—in, for example, remote communities or disaster areas where those generators might not be easily available. The idea is to harness the energy generated by the air that churns high above the surface of the Earth.

BAT isn”t alone in its effort to serve as a high-flying harnesser of energy. Several other researchers have been racing to develop floating wind turbines, IEEE Spectrum reports. But the project in Alaska, Altaeros claims, represents the technology”s first longer-term, commercial project.

By Megan Garber

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