UK company plans high altitude solar and wind energy generating drones

UK-based New Wave Energy plans to build the first high altitude aerial power plant, using networks of unmanned drones that can harvest energy from multiple sources and transmit it wirelessly to receiving stations on the ground.

The network of drones hover in the sky harvesting both solar and wind power, while moving about at low speeds to keep track of the sun. The drones will operate at high altitudes where the winds are more stable and there’s minimal chance of weather patterns or aircraft interfering with them.

Each 20 x 20 meter (65 x 65 feet) drone will have four rotors, multiple wind turbines and a flat base for generating solar power. It’ll be able to power itself with the harvested energy and generate an additional 50 kW that can be transmitted wirelessly to the ground. Rectenna arrays installed inland or on offshore installations would receive the electromagnetic waves and convert them into usable power.

An aerial power plant containing thousands of drones could produce around 400 MWe of power.

New Wave Energy UK plans to start a Kickstarter campaign to raise around £300,000 (US$500,000) and expects to have a working prototype within 6 months of receiving funding.

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