Up, Up, And Away With My Beautiful Green Balloons

When you hear about balloons in the news they are usually implicated in something nasty, like choking pigeons or used in underground not-so-TreeHuggerish guerrilla activities. Weren't we pleasantly surprised when we read the Jerusalem Post today and found that researchers from the Technion Institute have developed helium balloons coated with solar cells to generate energy. Two models have been constructed - one in the city of Haifa and one in the desert. The balloons are expected to overcome surface area issues such as in cities and crowded countries where large solar cell panels are not feasible.

Dr. Pini Gurfil and his doctoral student Yossi Corrie head the project that may bring balloons bobbing around in the sky in a city near you. Are they safe for birds and other animals, we don't know. But the same cable that brings the helium to the balloon will also carry the electricity to the ground, reports the JPost. And your home may require only one or two balloons.

These solar cell coated helium balloons could be used to supply electricity to ships and homes in jungles, deserts and other isolated spots off electricity grids. Beyond that, Gurfil and Corrie hope that homes in cities around the world will get their electricity from such balloons. If they were mass produced, their cost could be reduced below the estimated $700 per square meter of today's solar cells.

Fancy having some balloons bounce over your house? ::Jerusalem Post

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