Hot Air Balloons Could Take the Solar Revolution to a Much Higher Level

Written by on December 29, 2015 in Eco-Friendly, Environment with 37 Comments
E. Jullien/CNRS/Pixscience

E. Jullien/CNRS/Pixscience

Source: Energy Matters

We’ve reported on space-based solar farms before, where orbiting satellite arrays beam uninterrupted energy back to Earth via microwave or incredibly huge electrical cables.

A French researcher has suggested a simpler method of unimpeded solar electricity production: ‘solar balloons’.

The idea, according to electro-chemist Professor Jean-François Guillemoles, is to rise above the pesky clouds that hamper the production of solar energy by using hydrogen-filled polymer balloons fitted with solar cells.

Related Article: High-Efficiency, Low-Cost Solar Cells Can Be Made from Recycled Car Batteries


(E. Jullien/CNRS/NextPV)

“The main problem with photovoltaic energy is that sunlight can be obscured by clouds, which makes electrical production intermittent and uncertain. But above the cloud cover, the sun shines all day, every day,” Professor Guillemoles says.

Related Article: Elon Musk: We Can Power America by Covering Small Corner of Utah With Solar

“Anywhere above the planet, there are very few clouds at an altitude of 6 km—and none at all at 20 km. Under these conditions, the energy source is five times more abundant than on the ground, and production is entirely predictable. So why not send solar cells up above the clouds, where the sun always shines?”

The concept would involve mounting solar panels on high-altitude polymer balloons, which could be tethered to the ground or float free. During the day, electricity would be sent back to earth via cable or transmitter, with a portion of the current producing hydrogen from an attached fuel cell. At night, the fuel cell takes over, providing 24-hour energy.

Related Article: This Portable, Off-Grid Solar System Is Powerful Enough to Be Your Emergency Back Up


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37 Reader Comments

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  1.' Nicole Frances Litjohn says:

    Where there;s a will there’s a way! And if we can move past profit type thinking

  2.' Andy Dent says:

    waiting for flat earthers to say it’s not possible ???

  3.' Karl Meinhardt says:

    No don’t , there are better ways

  4.' Andrew Sansom says:

    question is, if that solar energy is normaly bounced back to space by the clouds will our collecting it not increase the so called global warming effect?

  5.' John Pinard says:

    Well what about planes? Would have to have fly around zones

  6.' Shanyn Vitti Avila says:

    Before we bombard the skies and atmosphere lets make sure the side effects don’t exceed the gain.

  7.' Don Field says:

    awsome ,

  8.' Terry Kostiuk says:


  9.' Jobie Wells says:

    this is an incredible idea !

  10.' Jet J Triplett says:

    And it’s like sending out an intersteller symbol, that we are partying down here.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Greg Benson

  12.' Terry Carlsen says:


  13.' Donna MCouture says:

    LOL … Air traffick controllers and pilots nightmares.

  14.' Peter Bryce says:

    She wore an itsy bitsy teeny weeny polka dotted sky bikini!

  15.' Lacie Lynne says:

    Mason Ernst

  16.' Hilary Anne says:

    Erik Smith

  17.' Joel Poole says:

    Sounds like San Fransokyo from big hero 6. Hopefully we get baymax aswell! Charleigh Williams

  18.' Rebecca Moody says:

    Jason Galvin

  19.' Omar Khalil Mckenzie says:

    I am very interested to start studying renewable energy starting this winter

  20.' Cory Berg says:

    More govt control

  21.' Genevie Dingal says:

    think about it. not good for the Airplanes.

  22.' Denny Derocher says:

    Look within. If you are have problems with stress or anxiety or simply want to enhance your meditation skills my composition on YouTube may help you. Please use headphones and listen to the entire recording about 15 minutes for best results. Try it for a few days and see if you feel the difference it can make in your life. Thank you for listening and may peace and love find you. Simply Google Spirit of the Wind 10

  23.' David Thrasher says:

    the French always make great contributions…

  24.' Spandan Bhattacharjee says:

    Stop bitching about dreamy shit… about a Windmill with blades fixed with solar panels…. -__-

  25.' Rohit Prajapati says:

    It will have to be made a no fly zone, cyclones prone areas not suitable, quite a lot surface area wasted, you have to install cells all around the sphere to take power all the time of the day, the rope so long will twist, dangerous to birds, ropes need to be absolutely non conductive which is not possible because it will have power cable hence danger from lightening in clouds, too much investment for little power, long term durability still a question, too unfeasible …

  26.' Phoenix Blue says:

    Rad! I say do it?

  27.' Chillah Moezi says:

    Tayo Redondo

  28.' JB Beckett says:

    Come on us inventors we need to win this race

  29.' Sam Ds says:

    Kristina Chapman

  30.' Annie Dorney says:


  31.' Nick Taylor says:

    All this technology to harness the energy we were freely given before technology.

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