Energy's Future: Flying & Floating Wind Farms

Offshore wind farms have access to stronger, more consistent winds and new technology will allows them to float in the sea. Next, wind farms may fly to capture atmospheric winds. 

What's the Latest Development?

An ongoing experiment in the rough North Sea could make new, floating wind farms a reality in a variety of difficult locations including US coastal areas. The Hywind project, set to finish later this year, has generated 15MWh of energy since 2010 and could help promote new offshore power projects. "Though turbines on land still dominate the field, offshore sites are expected to grow rapidly, especially if floating turbines can make electricity cheaply enough to compete." The economics of offshore wind favour fewer, larger turbines.

What's the Big Idea?

A German company is currently working on an ambitious flying wind farm which would capture the energy of wind high in the Earth's atmosphere, where there is enough energy to potentially power the planet. "The firm SkySails has drawn on its experience of designing enormous kites to tow cargo ships, to develop offshore wind systems that generate electricity as the kite pulls cable from a drum." After the kite is fully extended and has collected wind energy from the air, it will be steered into a quiet area and reeled in again. 

Photo credit:

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

In a first for humankind, China successfully sprouts a seed on the Moon

China's Chang'e 4 biosphere experiment marks a first for humankind.

Image source: CNSA
Surprising Science
  • China's Chang'e 4 lunar lander touched down on the far side of the moon on January 3.
  • In addition to a lunar rover, the lander carried a biosphere experiment that contains five sets of plants and some insects.
  • The experiment is designed to test how astronauts might someday grow plants in space to sustain long-term settlements.
Keep reading Show less

A world map of Virgin Mary apparitions

She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.

Strange Maps
  • For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
  • These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
  • Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
Keep reading Show less

Love in a time of migrants: on rethinking arranged marriages

Arranged marriages and Western romantic practices have more in common than we might think.

Culture & Religion

In his book In Praise of Love (2009), the French communist philosopher Alain Badiou attacks the notion of 'risk-free love', which he sees written in the commercial language of dating services that promise their customers 'love, without falling in love'.

Keep reading Show less