And where are they going to fly this thing? Even the prototype requires civil aviation clearance and will require things like aviation warning beacons and some form of self destruct should it break loose from its tether.
A full sized one will require inspection and approval and be very limited to where it can be used.
The US$14,000 that they are trying to get for the prototype might just get the approvals necessary to get one up in the air then they have the cost of building it on top of that.
they will fly it...where they are allowed to. the logistics aren't as difficult as the skeptics like to make it sound like. very limited? i guess you could give more info on why you think very limited...and i'll leave it at that.
this is an incredibly insightful idea..even if it doesn't 'get off the ground'
Biiiiig problem with this: Clouds reflect solar energy back into space before it heats the surface. Global warming is real, and a technology like this, if widely used, would make it worse.
The Hoff
Stop making designs that are using up the helium. Soon there will be no way to use them.
The Skud
I wonder at the impact of a 'desert' environment suburb in any dry state - say, outer Las Vegas for instance - flying a hundred or so of these, trying to get power and water for 'free'? I can see lawsuits aplenty from people 'downstream' wanting their cloud back, as even a single one of these must affect the cloud from which it is stripping all that moisture for the water.
Mel Tisdale
Considering just how scarce water is becoming globally, this has to be considered and if necessary, the rules altered to support deployment. seeing as they are unmanned, hydrogen can be used instead of helium, which is becoming very scarce.
As for climate change, what a pity we have wasted so much time claiming it was all a hoax so that the fossil fuel industry could continue to make profits, and 'earn' their bonuses. We need to find a way of making those guilty of promoting that hoax meme donate all their wealth into a fund to help future generations cope, if they can. We owe them that much at least.
Jay Finke
It's messing with the weather (cycles) not a fan of this idea.. capturing roof run off.. now that's the one I have been thinking of, as I live in Florida and rain is almost a daily thing.
Mark Windsor
"1.8 kW of electrical power per day"
Dear Author, This does not make sense. If it generates 1.8 kW, that is a continuous rating as a 1 W = 1 J/s. That is, time is already included. You can say 1.8 kWh per day, but not what you wrote. Don't feel bad - I see this mistake all the time from technical journalists who didn't learn about units properly.
Pieces of this idea seem lunatic, such as using helium but other pieces are achievable and commendable. Either way I would like to see this tried out. Some years ago someone tried to re-establish the cedar forests that covered Lebanon until the Romans mined the forest out. The Romans realized their mistake but lacked the conviction to try to reverse the damage. In the recent effort the Israelis threatened war because they felt a reforested Lebanon would hide rockets. However the early stages of reforesting DID work and showed promise for scaling up to all of Lebanon. The same level of conviction is needed here. I can see this working on otherwise dry sea coasts, i.e. India, West Africa, Somalia, and Eritrea. These areas could become a garden for fruit, coffee and chocolate export production.
I wish they would at least get their units right. kW per day is nonsense, since kW is already a unit of power flow per time. Also, the "for every 10 liters (2.6 gal) per square meter of surface area" makes no sense. It would be per liter that comes down, regardless of how many square meters it took to collect those liters.
Where in this article does it mention using helium? Seems people are trying to find problems in this project that aren't even there. Besides, this is a MUCH better use for helium than the balloons they sell in stores. If not for something as valuable as this project, what are we saving helium for? Besides, there are 2 other options: hydrogen, and rigid structure containing a vacuum. Yes, that has been developed.
As for aviation clearance, I am sure that they could declare a no-fly zone. We have them all over the place. Besides, planes normally fly well over 7,000 feet. Besides that, if water is very scarce in an area, I would take water over flying anytime. If nothing else, this could be very useful in underdeveloped countries that have little air traffic and where water is desperately needed.
As for increasing global warming: A) Most clouds (about 90%) actually increase it by reflecting heat back down. B) These things would make a pinprick in the clouds C) This could probably work in any humid air, not just where there are actual clouds.
As for the idea that this is "stealing" water downstream, that is pretty silly. A) The percentage of the water that these could take out of the air is tiny. The effect on rainfall "downstream" could not even be measured. B) Very little of the water that falls as rain is utilized. These things would usefully capture all the water they take, compared to a few percent of the rain that is utilized. C) It would take an idiot in government to try to block this on that basis. Nobody would be that dumb. Opps, what am I saying?
All told, this looks like a very good idea IF it can be made to work. THAT is the big question. A new source of renewable water PLUS renewable energy could save lives in the global warming Hell we are creating.