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July 22, 2009

A Clean Energy excerpt from gMOD - The Book

There are several companies working on prototype wind power plants to capture the ambient energy in high altitude wind. Integrated into inflatable balloons the wind plants are floated aloft to altitudes as high as 12,000 meters above ground level. A recent global assessment of wind power at high altitudes has shown that the highest wind power densities are near 10,000 meters over Japan and eastern China, the eastern coast of the United States, southern Australia, and north-eastern Africa.

One can imagine a fleet of gravitecture-enabled wind plants sent aloft to high-altitudes to harvest wind energy when the power density is at its peak. Power plants would rise and collecting sufficient energy to meet their operational needs as well a sufficient power for local urban needs, storing it within the plant's array of supercapacitors.

But perhaps a high-altitude wind plant is not required at all. Rather than sending a wind plant up to find the suitable winds, gMOD might bring the winds down to the ground. Depending upon the range of gMOD fields that can be produced, the creation of a diffuse wide-area hypergravity field on the ground should attract air masses aloft downward. This would produce a movement of air similar to the natural meteorological occurrence of a downdraft where a more dense cold air riding over a mass of warmer air sinks toward the ground.

In nature if a downdraft is of sufficient size it can cause what is termed a "microburst" - a sinking column of air which is associated with "straight line" winds. Microbursts often form below concentrated rain shafts known as virga shafts, though "dry bursts" without accompanying precipitation are also possible. Both can cause severe hazards around airports and produce winds with speeds as high as 168 mph (270 km/h). Once the downdraft reaches the ground the winds tend to spread horizontally as straight line winds.

At the base of the downdraft a vortex ring surrounding the column may form strengthening after initially impacting the ground. A gMOD enabled continuous microburst could be engineered to produce a continuous vortex on or near the ground. A ground-station vortex turbine capturing the microburst would have access to energy densities as great or greater than a high altitude wind plant, plus all the advantages of a ground-based plant's enduring connection to the power grid. It would also have the added benefit that the wind would be not be intermittent but could be stopped for maintenance by turning off the attractive gravity field.

©2009 Gregory Daigle