According to Airborne Wind Energy Labs, a major problem stalling the advance of renewable energy is that electrical energy cannot be stored economically. However, the company says that an airborne wind conversion system, directly charging thermal energy storage, could become the first economical energy storage technology not dependent on specific and rare location features.
The proposed system converts wind energy directly into heat, which is stored in a low cost thermal storage, then used to drive a steam turbine and produce electricity in the time of elevated demand or reduced supply. The system does not require rare or expensive materials, components or construction techniques.
Existing renewable energy approaches also do not address the need in vehicle fuels says Airborne Wind Energy Systems. This need is not satisfied by battery powered electric vehicles because of high cost and low durability of the batteries. Synthetic fuels can be manufactured from natural gas using airborne wind energy, at lower cost than by traditional methods and without excessive gas use.
These technologies are currently being discussed, along with others at the Airborne Wind Energy Conference currently taking place in Berlin. This year attendees from more than 24 countries are participating in the conference.