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Application of Lighter-Than-Air Platforms for Power Beaming, Generation and Communications

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3 Author(s)
Pant, R. ; Dept. of Aerosp. Eng., Indian Inst. of Technol., Mumbai, India ; Komerath, N. ; Kar, A.

Retail power beaming using millimeter waves offers a rapid way to bring electric power to areas such as rural India where the terrestrial wired grid lags the demand for communications, connectivity and other services. Synergy between infrastructure development for communications and for power allows local, regional and global power exchange. This helps to bring renewable power generation devices of all scales into a seamless grid including space-based, stratospheric, low-altitude, and surface infrastructure. This paper presents a conceptual study of how lighter-than-air platforms (LTA) including uninhabited, remoted controlled or autonomous aerostats and airships, may be used for the above purpose. The paper highlights the synergistic application of LTA systems to the delivery of power, generation of a small amount of power, and provision of low-cost communications systems in remote areas. Significant experience has already been accumulated in using LTA systems in India for various purposes. Wind patterns drive the optimum altitude for a self-propelled LTA above 21,000 m, suitable for large stratospheric platforms. Altitudes above 4000 m would enable a tethered LTA to convey millimeter wave power through a wave guide integrated into the tether, tunneling through the high-loss regions of the atmosphere. The millimeter wave power beaming application requires demonstration of the projected antenna mass and other parameters. Tethered aerostats, autonomous powered airships and very high altitude platforms all offer excellent opportunities. Initial sizing explorations show feasible solution spaces.

Published in:

Electronic System Design (ISED), 2011 International Symposium on

Date of Conference:

19-21 Dec. 2011

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