Magenn Power Air Rotor System
The Magenn Power Air Rotor System is an interesting wind turbine concept that looks to have the potential to really take off. The initial product is scheduled to be on the market by the end of 2006, and they are taking orders now. What's more, the first product is geared toward home sized requirements (4 kw of electricity production). This is probably because it's less complicated to build and operate a smaller version while to company accumulates real world experience (speculation on my part). The first systems are expected to cost $10,000 for 4 kw of power. That's a remarkable price point, as it would make the electricity produced cost less than grid electricity for most residential consumers:
Assuming a 10 year life (no mention of expected life of the system was found on the web site, so this assumption may not be good)...
4 kw power per hour of operation * 12 hours usable wind = 48 kwh of power per day
48 kwh * 3650 days (10 year life) = 175,200 kwh per life of system
175,200 kwh / 1.2 DC to AC conversion inefficiency = 146,000 net kwh
$10,000 / 146,000 = $0.0685 per kwh.
Another interesting note, the 1 kw system projected for 2007 is even cheaper per kw of power.
I would have a few concerns...
What would it take to get permission to fly one of these things?
What happens if it breaks loose from the tether?
Is there a point where it has to be reeled in to avoid too strong of a wind or bad weather?
From the web site: "The Magenn Power Air Rotor System (MARS) is an innovative lighter-than-air tethered device that rotates about a horizontal axis in response to wind, efficiently generating clean renewable electrical energy at a lower cost than all competing systems. This electrical energy is transferred down the tether to a transformer at a ground station and then transferred to the electricity power grid. Helium (an inert non-reactive lighter then air gas) sustains the Air Rotor which ascends to an altitude for best winds and its rotation also causes the Magnus effect. This provides additional lift, keeps the device stabilized, keeps it positioned within a very controlled and restricted location, and causes it to pull up overhead rather than drift downwind on its tether."